Sandra Boyd: ‘Image Nation’ veterans program makes a difference |

Sandra Boyd: ‘Image Nation’ veterans program makes a difference

I am deeply saddened to read of the loss of funding to Image Nation by the California Arts Council reported by The Union on Aug. 23.

I am one of the participants of the first group of Image Nation begun in September 2015. I am also a U.S. Army veteran who served during the “post-fall-of-Saigon” era. This is a huge loss to Nevada County and our local veterans.

I can’t speak highly enough of Image Nation, the wonderful project led by nationally renowned photographer Michael Llewellyn under the umbrella of Nevada County Arts Council. I do understand and respect that the California Arts Council needs to pay due diligence in the management of public funds while, on the other hand, what is clearly an administrative oversight which NCArts has wholeheartedly accepted responsibility for.

To be tarred with “misrepresentation” — even if “unintentional” — is devastating for a rural arts council doing such good work across so many fields.

The benefits of Image Nation are many:

1. It brings together veterans of all ages to participate in the learning of the art of photography as expression.

2. Bringing veterans together is a positive learning environment which allows for each member to connect with others who have gone through the unique experience of service to our country.

3. It presents veterans to our community in a whole new and positive way, bringing about discussion and attention to understanding who they are and how they have contributed to our country and the impact of their service.

One final thought is my personal experience with Image Nation: I was always proud of my service, but unfortunately during that time it was not considered a positive choice, especially for women. As such I did not speak of my service or even include it on my resume, as I was often shamed if it was brought up. Thanks to Image Nation, I have felt empowered and was able to present, in an open forum, my military background.

I truly hope that — in due course — this project might continue with new funding, and I will do my part to garner support for this amazing project. Certainly, my observation of Nevada County Arts Council’s leadership under Eliza Tudor, in partnership with Welcome Home Vets, is that integrity will shine through for all of us.

Sandra Boyd lives in Grass Valley.

Support Local Journalism

Support Local Journalism

Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.


Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User