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Clear22 in the news…

September 2019 Press Release:

Veteran and spouse launch Clear22.org, an online Veteran artist community, resource library, and marketplace to fight Veteran suicide.

Mobile, Alabama / September 9, 2019– Clear22.org today announces the launch of its platform to combat Veteran suicide by assisting Veteran and Military ID Holders start or further a career in the arts. Clear22.org works with professional artists and entrepreneurs to gather resources for emerging artists of all types including photographers, writers, visual artists, and musicians, among others, who have been directly affected by war and military service. The website also features an online marketplace and artist grant program.

In June 2016 and 5 years short of the time-in-service required to retire, Jay K. Smith learned he had developed MS due to “environmental factors in Iraq.” Smith viewed medically retiring as his last act of service to the men and women he was no longer able to lead. But after, as his job search languished with no prospects, much less one worthy of his skillset, he began to understand why 22 Veterans per day commit suicide:  lack of opportunity, lack of purpose, lack of support. Then, the idea of Clear22.org entered his mind – a way to help Veterans like himself take control of their professional futures and find a new purpose outside of the military.

Smith, an artist since youth, decided that while the art therapies offered to Veterans across the country are a necessary first step to healing, more was needed to augment these programs. In art therapy, Veterans develop new skills and hobbies as a way to cope with injury and stress. But, what if these new skills could also provide hope, purpose, and a future for those struggling after their service is done?

Smith’s answer was Clear22.org. To bridge the gap between art therapy and professional opportunity, the Clear22.org Member Content Library offers artist members a variety of learning modules and supplemental materials free for download. Topics include marketing classes, business tools such as pricing guidance, website builder guides, content creation training, various craft instruction workshops, and entrepreneurial skill-building. All resources are provided free to Clear22 members by industry professionals.

The Clear22 Shop features artwork from Clear22 artists and professional artist contributors. Proceeds from the shop go to the Veteran artists, with a 15% consignment fee going back to Clear22 for site maintenance and to fund the Clear22 Support an Artist Grant program. This grant program strives to alleviate some of the financial burdens of becoming an artist by, for example, providing funding for new art supplies, fees for professional conferences, studio time, or necessary software. To contribute to the fund, patrons can make a direct donation at www.clear22.orgor purchase items through the Clear22 Shop.

No Veteran should feel that suicide is his or her best option. Clear22.org hopes to clear obstacles for Veterans by providing tangible opportunity, support, and exposure so that every Veteran artist can feel hope in a new purpose, security on a new path. 

If you are or know of a Veteran artist (or Military ID Holder artists) who would benefit from Clear22, go to www.clear22.org/membershipor email Jodie Cain Smith, Clear22 Administrator, at jodie@clear22.orgfor more information. Membership is free.

Together, we can clear obstacles for those who served.

Jay and Jodie Smith celebrating Jay’s 3rd homecoming from Iraq in 2009. Unbeknownst to either of them, the lesions that would result in multiple sclerosis were already growing on Jay’s brain and spine.
Jay Smith with son Bay on the final “moving day,” blissfully unaware of the challenges of life after the Army that lie ahead.
Jay with longer hair post-Army, sharing his passion for art with son Bay.