A veterans art show at the Geneva American Legion Post 75 will feature the work of Purple Heart veteran U.S. Army Sgt. Mario Lopez, Geneva veteran Larry Orsborn and other artists.
Open to the public, the show takes place from 6 to 8 p.m. Nov. 12 at the Post, 22 S. Second St., Geneva.
According to a news release, Lopez was catastrophically injured in Afghanistan in 2008, when an improvised explosive device detonated. He suffered burns on 54% of his body, lost his right arm, vision in his right eye and four fingers on his left hand.
Throughout his recovery – multiple skin grafts and surgeries to reconstruct his face, left hand and right foot – Silverlon silver-plated nylon wound dressing was an instrumental part of his recovery. Argentum Medical, a medical device manufacturer in Geneva, makes Silverlon.
Motivated by the Sept. 11 attacks, Lopez had enlisted in 2003, and was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan.
He was on a mission when the IED exploded, his life saved when others in his unit pulled him from the burning vehicle.
Though Lopez lost his dominant right arm, he began painting with his left hand in 2011.
Now Lopez’s work is featured nationwide in galleries, museums, military bases, government buildings and in the offices of U.S. presidents, the release stated.
“Sgt. Lopez’s paintings are a testament to his resilience and the resilience of our military heroes on Veterans Day,” Argentum President and CEO Raul Brizuela stated in the release. “His artwork is a source of inspiration today and for years to come. We are proud to honor Veterans Day this way.”
In August 2021, Lopez visited Argentum Medical to unveil and dedicate a painting of a stylized image of the American flag to the creators of Silverlon, a medical device used in the military, which helped save him.
During that visit and dedication ceremony, Lopez met with U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Naperville, who is a member of the House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs.
In addition to Lopez and Orsborn, art from Chicago artists Michael Bever and Ricky Tavitas will be featured at Friday’s event.
Tavitas served in Iraq and Afghanistan, but suffered a spinal cord injury in a civilian vehicle accident that left him paralyzed from the neck down, according to the New Century Art Guild website.
Tavitas uses Smile Mouse, software that uses a laptop camera to recognize facial and head movements to relay computer commands so he can continue to create graphic art.
Salvatore Dazzo, a veteran and owner of Gun Barrel coffee in Geneva, will serve coffee. Veteran-owned Craft Urban will serve appetizers.