Army veteran behind ArtPrize entry to discuss journey from soldier to artist

A rendering of "Locked and Loaded" by Kimberly Walker
A rendering of "Locked and Loaded" by Kimberly Walker.
Image credit - Courtesy of Kimberly Walker

After retiring from the United States Army in 2015 following 17 years of service, Kimberly Walker began searching for her purpose as an artist, which she eventually found in the form of sharing stories of sexual assault in the military through art.

During this year's 10th anniversary of ArtPrize, Walker's piece, "Locked and Loaded," will be the sole entry located at the Eberhard Center on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus.

The piece will consist of 46 military-issue duffle bags representing 46 cases of sexual assault in the military. Walker, an Ohio-based artist, said through her research, she discovered that none of the cases were disclosed to the general public.

Walker will discuss her ArtPrize entry, as well as her journey from soldier to artist, during a special presentation on September 20. "Finding Your Purpose With Art" will take place at 6 p.m. in room 716 in the Eberhard Center. A reception will precede remarks at 5:30 p.m. outside the Veterans Upward Bound office.

Following Walker's remarks, Tim Marroquin, director of Veterans Upward Bound, and Krystal Diel, Victim Advocate in Grand Valley's Gayle R. Davis Center for Women and Gender Equity, will discuss resources on campus available to veterans, current students, victims and survivors of sexual assault, and advocate community members. This event is LIB 100 approved for students.

"Locked and Loaded" was chosen by members of Grand Valley's Art Gallery staff during an ArtPrize Pitch Night in May. These events provide artists in five different cities an opportunity to present to judges an idea for a piece of artwork that would be on display at a high-profile venue in Grand Rapids during the competition. The selected artists each received a $5,000 grant to bring their ideas to life.

ArtPrize takes place September 19-October 7.

For more information about this event, visit


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