Nationwide, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities use the creative arts as one form of rehabilitative treatment to help Veterans recover from and cope with physical and emotional disabilities. Across the country each year, Veterans treated at VA facilities compete in a local creative arts competition. The competition includes 53 categories in the visual arts division this year that range from oil painting to leatherwork to paint-by-number kits. In addition, there are 120 categories in the performing arts pertaining to all aspects of music, dance, drama and creative writing. A national selection committee chooses first, second and third place winners among all of the entries. Select winners are invited to attend the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival each year.
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The Veterans invited to participate in the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival are selected winners from the 2013 national competition.
The key purpose of the National Veterans Creative Arts competition and Festival is to recognize Veterans for their creative accomplishments and to educate and demonstrate to communities throughout the country the therapeutic benefits of the arts.
The 2013 local phase of the National Veterans Creative Arts Competition ended on March 25. For information regarding entering the 2014 competition, please contact recreation/creative arts therapy staff at the VA facility in which you are enrolled. If you need assistance in identifying a VA staff person from your facility, please contact Amy Kimbler (320) 255-6486 or Elizabeth Mackey, National Director (320) 255-6351.
This competition is open to Veterans who are enrolled at a VA Medical Center or Outpatient Clinic BEFORE entering the local competition. An eligible Veteran can enter local competition at only one VA facility per year. He/she can submit an entry in creative writing, dance, drama or music categories with a Veteran or group from another VA facility, but still represents and must go through his/her originating VA facility to enter the competition. This facility should be the site where he/she receives their primary treatment.
Many PTSD therapeutic approaches integrate art as an element of treatment, and therapists see lasting value in integrating art therapy and trauma treatment. If you or your loved one is a veteran, consider participating in the VA Arts Festival. And if you have participated, share your story with us.