Dear Veteran is a public art project that gives civilians an opportunity to acknowledge Veterans in their lives and communities. Inspired by the Shinto shrines of Japan where devotees write their wishes and prayers on small wooden plaques, and the prayer trees of Tibet, Dear Veteran cards are placed on trees in public places as gestures of tribute and hope.
Katinka Hooyer, PhD, MS, is a medical anthropologist and artist working in Family and Community Medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Her research focuses on alternative health interventions for Veterans with post-traumatic stress and moral injury. She is interested in how experiences in nature and with animals can transform the soul and create opportunities to feel more connected to the world. Using interactive art as a way to translate anthropological knowledge, Katinka is able to share her findings more broadly with the public. On a scholarly level, Dear Veteran serves as an experimental tool to evaluate the social impact of Veteran-specific media.