Opinion

Veterans, art museums mix beautifully in Tacoma

Instructor Greg Owen spins a piece of glass during a demonstration at Tacoma’s Museum of Glass, where visiting dignitaries were taking a look at the Hot Shop Heroes program. The NEA-funded program partners with JBLM to teach glassblowing skills to active-duty military and veterans for healing.
Instructor Greg Owen spins a piece of glass during a demonstration at Tacoma’s Museum of Glass, where visiting dignitaries were taking a look at the Hot Shop Heroes program. The NEA-funded program partners with JBLM to teach glassblowing skills to active-duty military and veterans for healing. News Tribune file photo, 2016

Honoring service members around the South Sound will take many forms this Veterans Day weekend, such as free gate admission at Olympic and Mount Rainier national parks, a complimentary donut at the Krispy Kreme counter and no charge for meals at several local restaurants. Nice gestures, all.

But the Tacoma Art Museum is making a forceful statement that military veterans have earned special treatment 365 days a year.

TAM announced this week that it’s offering free year-round admission to all active-duty military, reservists, veterans and their families — an expansion of the Blue Star Museums program that previously offered free admission from Memorial Day through Labor Day. That’s a big commitment for a museum, located in the heart of veteran country and only miles from JBLM, to give up revenue from potentially tens of thousands of visitors.

Right next door, the Museum of Glass is another good friend of the local military community. MOG sponsors the Hot Shop Heroes program, which trains injured and wounded JBLM soldiers to blow glass. They’ll be making art under the Hot Shop cone on Veterans Day, when MOG admission will also be free to vets and their families.

The two museums have forged a laudable partnership, as TAM is displaying a blown-glass mixed-media sculpture, crafted by veterans, on loan from MOG through the end of this month.

We love to see neighboring art institutions work together in common cause. And we really love to see walls come down between military and civilian neighbors who have so much to learn from each other, all year long.

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