Sacramento Public Library

War Ink

StoryCorps and California public libraries are looking for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to tell the stories of their tattoos for an exhibition on veterans’ experiences.
War Ink is an upcoming multimedia exhibit opening on Veterans Day that will feature 18 Iraq and Afghanistan veterans from throughout the state. The Sacramento Public Library has joined with other public libraries around the state to help find a diverse group of veterans to tell their stories—and the tale behind their ink.

Veterans interested in the project are encouraged to contact Jason Deitch directly at or 510-593-8423.

Each veteran’s story surrounding their tattoos will be recorded by nationally renowned StoryCorps project. Their tattoos will be photographed by Shaun Roberts whose work has been featured in GQ, and many other publications.
The exhibit will be curated by Jason Deitch, a former Army Ranger combat medic. Upon his return to civilian life, he got a PhD. in sociology from U.C. Berkeley and co-founded the Returning Veterans of America. Deitch co-created War Ink with Chris Brown, project director of the Contra Costa County Library.
“This project represents both a unique collaboration for cutting edge and relevant cultural programming, as well as a powerful context for the authentic and honest voice of veteran culture,” said Deitch.
“I think it is important for people back at home, who are often so distanced from military service, to gain insight into the experience of veterans returning home. Because they’re coming back to become part of that community.” said Brown.
With nearly 2 million veterans in California and a generation of veterans returning from two wars, our state is ground zero when it comes to veterans issues. War Ink represents a platform to explore the unfiltered record of war that veterans have documented on their bodies.
War Ink was made possible through two grants awarded to Contra Costa County Library. Cal Humanities, an independent non-profit state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities, awarded the library a $10,000 Community Stories grant. The Pacific Library Partnership followed with a $15,000 Innovation and Technology Opportunity Grant, allowing War Ink to incorporate several innovative library systems in California. This group also includes the Alameda Free Library, Mountain View Library, Oakland Public Library, San Diego County Library, San Jose Public Library, San Mateo County Library, Santa Clara County Library District, and Santa Cruz Public Libraries.

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