"Portrait of a Soldier" - Sept. 11-15

"Portrait of a Soldier" - Sept. 11-15

Posted On: 09/08/23

A memorial exhibition showing 291 hand-drawn soldiers’ portraits will be on display at Kankakee Community College from 5:30 p.m. Sept. 11 to Friday, Sept. 15.

“Portrait of a Soldier” has portraits of the men and women who have died serving our country since Sept. 11, 2001. It will be on display in KCC’s Arts & Sciences Building art gallery space.

Former Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn will host an opening reception on Sept. 11 at 5:30 p.m. at the gallery location. Families of fallen service members are invited to attend as honored guests.

The public is invited to the opening and to view the exhibit during its stay at KCC. It will be open 7:45 a.m. - 10 p.m. Sept. 12 to 14; and 7:45 a.m. - 5 p.m. Sept. 15.

“The Portrait of a Soldier memorial is a moving tribute to the men and women who have given their last full measure of devotion to our democracy,” Quinn said. “I encourage everyone to come see the Portrait of a Soldier tribute and honor the memory of these fallen heroes.”

2023 marks the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the war in Iraq, Quinn noted. The exhibit includes the portrait of Marine Capt. Ryan Beaupre, a St. Anne native and Bishop McNamara High School graduate, who was the first serviceperson to be killed in action during the war.

Guests to the Portrait of a Soldier exhibit are invited to write letters of thanks and draw pictures for deployed troops, veterans, wounded soldiers and caregivers. They will be delivered via Operation Gratitude.

The artists are Cameron Schilling of Mattoon and Donal Jeremiah of Streamwood. Schilling drew the first portrait in August 2004, after Army Spc. Charles Neeley, also of Mattoon, was killed in Iraq. Schilling gave the sketch to Spc. Neeley’s parents to convey his sympathy. In October 2005, while a student at Eastern Illinois University, Schilling decided to draw a portrait of every Illinois service member who has fallen during the Global War on Terror.

The portraits to be displayed are copies of the originals, which are given to the fallen soldiers’ next of kin. The exhibit travels throughout Illinois. Http://governorquinnportrait.org/portraits.html includes the portraits.

For more information about the KCC showing, contact Kari Nugent, KCC vice president for Advancement, Marketing, and Public Relations, at knugent@kcc.edu or phone 815-802-8256.

KCC is located south of downtown Kankakee off River Road, near U.S. 45‑52. The address is 100 College Drive, Kankakee.