Joint Operation Mariposa is escorting artwork of a lone green horse to raise awareness of veteran suicide across the nation to Washington, D.C., after having begun in Neah Bay on Thursday.
The painting was in Post Falls, Idaho by Friday, according to Heather Allen, vice president of the nonprofit, having made stops at military bases along the way.
She expects it to be presented to the public as a donation at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., on Sept. 13.
The artwork was created by National Archives Artists David Williams and Hailee Steinebach. Williams is a Navy veteran with a traumatic brain injury (TBI), founder of Joint Operation Mariposa and a self-taught artist. Steinebach is an artist and full time college student. Both live in Sanders County, Mont.
The names of veterans lost to suicide, followed by a Green Star, as well as veterans and family members are being signed on the back of the painting during the journey.
This artwork was painted in 2018 to show support for the families who have lost veterans to suicide and is part of the 1,000-foot-long “Guardians of the Herd” piece.
This painting is 6 feet tall and 8 feet wide.
Painted on burlap, it depicts a solitary green horse on a white background.
The color of the horse is a nod to Green Star Families, families who have lost veterans to suicide.
The design is based on the line drawings of Moon Illusion on Deviantart.com.
All of the “Guardians of the Herd” artwork is in the process of being donated to tribal and veterans organizations as requested by veterans from across the country, Allen said.
Artwork by Williams and Steinebach was presented to the President of the United States in October 2018. They have artwork on display at the VA Regional Office in Helena, Mont.
Through the group’s veterans-in-the-classroom program, they have helped school students of all ages create over 2,000 pieces of artwork now hanging in public schools throughout western Montana.
“We veterans hide really well when we take off our uniforms but we are still here, we are in every community and the lives of the men and women who served with us matter,” Williams said.
“I hope that this journey demonstrates our commitment to those who are struggling and gives us this rare opportunity to show our communities who we are and our commitments to them as well.”