The Art of Healing
The National Veterans Creative Arts Festival helps vets show others their talents while helping themselves mend.
The competition has 53 categories of visual arts, and 120 in the performing arts. The creative-writing division is growing and includes portions for poetry, essaying, short-story fiction and journaling.
“We really focus on the local program, because that’s where most veterans will receive the most recognition,” the event's director, Elizabeth Mackey says.
Lana Gillaspie has won gold in
categories such as drama, writing,
and poetry. (VA photo)
And the festival is expanding to include the newest generation of wounded warriors.
“We’re creating a category for active-duty military,” Mackey explains. “We’re trying to help bring the arts to active-duty being treated at (the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center) and other facilities.”
She says that’s because VA’s creative-arts programs have always been about healing. Indeed, the 2013 theme is “Healing Arts.”
The new category for active-duty men and women may expand in the future. For now…
“We want them to be receiving care through a facility and want the art to relate to their healing process,” remarks Mackey. “We want to hear about how they do this to help them heal.”
Among these participants, those who enter visual arts will also have to submit a written explanation of how it contributes to their healing. They or others can compose the written explanations.
Mackey says in recent years there’s been an uptake in veterans of all ages with catastrophic disabilities entering the art festival, and that’s part of what inspired the Healing Arts theme.
“We were seeing an increase in the number of those with catastrophic disabilities and major (post-traumatic stress disorder),” she comments.
For more information about the local and national events, visit www.creativeartsfestival.va.gov.
The Art of Healing
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