Big Red Barn Retreat announces Healing Lenses Exhibit

Nonprofit to hold photography exhibit showcasing veteran work

The Big Red Barn Retreat is kicking off a photography exhibit titled, “Healing Lenses” at Stormwater Studios in downtown Columbia on Thursday, September 19 from 5-8 p.m. The 40-piece exhibit will showcase the work of veterans who have participated in the Big Red Barn Retreat’s Healing Lens program and will be on display from September 19 to Saturday, September 28th. Pieces from the exhibit will be available for purchase with all monies raised going to support the Veteran programs at the Big Red Barn Retreat.

The Healing Lens photography program at the Big Red Barn Retreat was formed to provide local military (active and veterans) and their families with a non-therapeutic creative outlet, camaraderie and a voice for expression. The groups’ experience ranges from novice to professional with images captured on cell phones and digital cameras. Once a month the group meets at an interesting location around South Carolina to take pictures for as long as they want. Three days later, they meet at the Barn lounge to show and share their images.

“The participants come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences,” said Jim Dukes, Director of Healing Arts at the Barn. “It is my role to facilitate the way they look at the world.”

Dukes discovered photography in 2012 while going through rehab for his fifth traumatic brain injury. Various physical, mental and emotional disabilities left him searching for a new life direction, so he picked up his cell phone and began taking pictures. Looking through the camera lens allows him to see the beauty in the world around him instead of the negative. Jim completed a year-long art residency at Tapps Arts Center in Columbia in 2014 where he was featured in two exhibits and contributed pieces to several others. Since then, he’s expanded his photography work nationally and continues to mentor military groups in the art of photography.

The is a free exhibit and event that is open to the public. For more information about the Healing Lens program at the Big Red Barn Retreat, contact Jim Dukes, Director of Healing Arts, at (704) 840-9008 or go to the Big Red Barn Retreat’s Facebook page

About Organization Name
The Big Red Barn Retreat is a 501(c)(3) located in Blythewood, SC that provides free therapeutic services to active-duty service members and veterans struggling with military and combat related stress issues. Started in 2014, the retreat helps more than 2,500 military personnel annually. All services provided at the Big Red Barn Retreat are funded through grants and private donations. For more information or to donate, go to

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