Ken Smith exhibits “The Things They Carried” at Radford University Art Museum


In addition to his work as an associate professor of art at Radford University, Ken Smith has achieved renown as a painter of military history.

An avid history buff, Smith uses his knowledge and research of soldiers throughout history to paint evocative scenes of their experiences.

In “The Things They Carried,” an exhibit at the Radford University Art Museum Downtown Gallery, Smith shows his paintings of common soldiers from the French and Indian War through Vietnam.

The exhibit, a Big Read NRV event, will be open to the public through Nov. 19.

Funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Big Read encourages community members to read a common book and attend events based on it.

The featured book is Tim O’Brien’s "The Things They Carried," after which the exhibit is named. The collection of linked short stories explores the combat experiences of Vietnam veterans, but continues to resonate today.

"We selected this title to provide opportunities to create dialogue around critical social and historical issues linked to our country being at war, both past and present," said Lisa Vassady, Big Read organizer and research help desk coordinator and instruction librarian at Radford University’s McConnell Library.

McConnell Library is joined by several community partners in sponsoring The Big Read: New River Community College, Glencoe Museum, Montgomery County Public Schools, Radford Public Library and Virginia Tech’s Center for the Study of Rhetoric in Society.

The New River Valley is one of only 75 communities around the country selected to host this year’s Big Read. The $15,000 grant secured for the project is one of the largest ones in the country.

For more information and a full calendar of events, please visit the Big Read NRV website.


Oct 20, 2015