Hennepin Gallery exhibit memorializes veterans and soldiers lost to suicide

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Mara Pelecis,The 8030 Project, 612-227-8979
Kirstin Wiegmann, Forecast Public Art, 651-641-1128 
Diana Houston, Hennepin County Communications, 612-348-5130 


Hennepin Gallery exhibit memorializes veterans and soldiers lost to suicide

The 8030 Project photograph installation 
on display September 4 - October 27

Every day an estimated 22 U.S. veterans and soldiers commit suicide. 

Every year, that adds up to more than 8,000 lives lost. 

The 8030 Project, a veterans’ suicide awareness project, was created as a community participatory public art project to raise awareness of these unnecessary and tragic deaths. An installation featuring images from The 8030 Project will be seen at the Hennepin County Government Center in the Hennepin Gallery from September 4 through October 27, 2015.

Images featured in the installation are culled from The 8030 Project’s open call to create individual memorials for these lost lives. The memorials use everyday objects in everyday spaces; 22 items represent the 22 lives lost. They can be as simple as a circle of chairs, stones on a beach or a drawing. More than 100 submissions have been collected over the past year on the project’s website, www.8030project.com. The exhibit is a selection of the submissions with the stories that accompany them.

Despite increasing media coverage and heightened public awareness, the number of deaths keeps rising. This project provides a tangible, local experience to help people understand what the numbers truly mean. 

This will be The 8030 Project’s first large-scale installation.


About the artist

This installation was created by artist Mara Pelecis, founder of The 8030 Project, and supported by the Hennepin County Multicultural Arts Committee and Forecast Public Art.

Mara Pelecis created the project in response to the growing number of veteran suicides while creating her film: “Surviving the Peace,” which tells the story of the fallout of war on her father and family. A Vietnam veteran, her father committed suicide in 2002 following numerous hospitalizations.  Since the first interviews were recorded in 2004, she saw the number of suicides go up, not down, over time. Pelecis has an extensive exhibition history; the film has been seen by audiences from Minneapolis to Prague. 

People are invited to add submissions to the project’s online gallery at 8030project.com.


Events and observances

Memorial procession 
Tuesday, September 8, 12:15 to 12:30 p.m. American Heritage Pipes and Drums and the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office honor guard will lead a solemn observance and procession from the Skyway Level to the Hennepin Gallery to officially open the exhibit. 
Film screening: Surviving the Peace
A film by exhibition curator, Mara Pelecis
Thursday, September 10, 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Hennepin County Government Center Auditorium, A-level

Panel discussion: 22 Among Us
A conversation about returning veterans and mental health services
Thursday, October 22, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Hennepin County Government Center Auditorium, A-level

National Suicide Prevention Week
September 7 – 13, 2015

World Suicide Prevention Day
September 10, 2015

Veterans’ Voices Month
October is designated to honor and celebrate the accomplishments of Minnesota veterans and to educate all Minnesotans by sharing and studying veterans’ experiences.



The Hennepin County Multicultural Arts Committee (MCAC) was created by the County Board in 1995 as part of the organization’s response to the Minneapolis Initiative Against Racism. MCAC sponsors art displays, performances, discussions and exhibits representing Hennepin County’s diverse cultural canvas.


Forecast Public Art is a non-profit arts organization that connects artist talent with community needs. Forecast supports the Hennepin County Multicultural Arts Committee with an annual installation in the Hennepin Gallery that connects county goals to the creativity of artists.


The Hennepin Gallery is free and open to the public Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., at the Hennepin County Government Center, A-level, 300 South 6th Street, Minneapolis. The exhibit is a project of Hennepin County Communications. 

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