Colonel Robert Sholly Selected as Artist-in-Residence at Big Bend National Park

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Date: October 30, 2017
Contact: Jennette Jurado, 432-477-1109

The National Parks Arts Foundation has selected Colonel Robert (Bob) Sholly (Ret.) as Veteran-Artist-in-Residence at Big Bend National Park, sponsored by the Big Bend Natural History Association.

His lengthy career includes serving as an Army Captain during the Vietnam War. Part of one of the most decorated battalions of the war, he later recounted the experience in a best-selling and acclaimed book, Young Soldiers: Amazing Warriors. Additionally, he served as Chief of Operations for the UN Truce Supervision Organization in Jerusalem. He, along with the other UN Peacekeepers, were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize due to their efforts in the Middle East during 1981-83.

Sholly grew up in Big Bend National Park, as his father was the first Chief Ranger for the park. Sholly credits this experience as key to his career as an infantryman and officer: “The fact that I was raised in national parks, with an independence not permitted many children, gave me far more outdoor experience for the Army than most other people. I was an accomplished mountain climber, hiker, compass and map reader, and survivalist before the age of ten.”
Colonel Sholly will use the month-long residency in November to develop a memoir of his life in the park. The memoir, which will include other events in his unusual childhood, will cover growing up in the Big Bend, Bandelier, White Sands, and other parks and monuments in the west. “My artistic approach is more akin to storytelling,” says Sholly. “I have lived a very eventful and dramatic life. While I have enjoyed most minutes of it, it is only now as I slow down a bit, that I find that others find it of interest.”

While in the park, Sholly will be giving programs, including a talk on November 25, at 7:30 p.m., at the Chisos Basin Amphitheater. This event will be free and open to the public.

The Veteran-Artists-in-Residence program was started at Big Bend through the Big Bend Natural History Association and is being expanded to other national parks by the National Parks Arts Foundation. NPAF is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of national parks through creating dynamic opportunities for artworks that are based in our natural and historic heritage. This project is supported by the Big Bend Natural History Association, the National Endowment for the Arts, and other generous benefactors.

Last updated: October 30, 2017

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