Feeling the Love in February: The National Initiative for Arts & Health in the Military

Posted by Marete Wester, Feb 08, 2019

This February reflection takes me squarely into the midst of the incredible people working at the intersections of arts, health, and the military. One of the fastest growing networks at Americans for the Arts is the National Initiative for Arts & Health in the Military (NIAHM) Facebook Group. I am feeling the love for everyone who shares their programs and stories regularly in the NIAHM group, whose contributors represent a dynamic mix of individuals and organizations, state and local arts agencies, VA programs, arts and veterans service organizations—representing all branches of service, and all forms of art and art-making. Each day brings new postings of happenings across the country, new programs, new milestones, new art, and new inspirations. Our member postings run the gamut of understanding the deep historical roots of the arts in the military, to examples of how today’s veteran artists are carving out the unique history of the 21st century through their art. A sampling of the postings from just the last two weeks tells a rich story of the history and diversity of the arts as part of the military culture.

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10 Reasons to Support the Arts in 2019

Posted by Mr. Randy Cohen, Feb 25, 2019

The arts advocacy season is upon us once again. It’s time to meet with your legislators to help them understand the value of investing in the arts. How to prepare? Start with this list of “10 Reasons to Support the Arts.” It can feel intimidating walking into a legislator’s office—even to experienced advocates. To always feel prepared, I break the advocacy process down into three simple questions: Who gets the message? What is the message? Who delivers the message? Remember the Golden Rule: No numbers without a story, and no stories without a number. The arts are all about stories—often small, always meaningful. Share yours. It’s engaging and draws your listener in—and then pair it with the research-based findings in “10 Reasons to Support the Arts.” Yours will be an advocacy visit that is not soon forgotten.

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Vet Voices: A Healing Journey into Theatre Arts

Posted by Scott A. Cook, Aug 10, 2018

Early in 2017, TheatreWorks Florida was interested in a new focus group for their highly successful community outreach program, TheatreCares. Through a quick internet search of “arts,” “health,” and “military,” I fell down a rabbit hole of information that led to an incredible year and a half journey of discovery to combine theatre arts with military veteran health needs. The outcome is our outstanding arts and health in the military program called Vet Voices, which provides veterans an opportunity for positive self-awareness and self-discovery in a creative “safe space” environment and allows veterans affected by war to explore the theatre arts and ultimately find healing through creativity.

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Giving Voice Through Art

Posted by Kristin La Flamme, Nov 11, 2016

I am an artist and a military spouse. I create artwork that expresses the fragile strength of life as an Army wife.  I have found that if I can express my challenges and frustrations through my art, the message is less finite or specific. The artwork is not just about me. And it’s not only cathartic to me, but it leaves room for the viewer to bring his or her own experience and voice to the visual conversation as well—in ways that words and writing can not. 

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Supporting the Health of Our Veterans with the Arts

As Veterans Day approaches, we wanted to take pause to reflect on the transformative power that access to the arts has on veterans, their families, and the communities they call home. Today and tomorrow, we will be publishing blog posts exploring the impact that access to the arts and creative arts therapies has had on veterans’ recovery and reintegration—and sometimes even redeployment. But for every veteran and service member, as well as their families and loved ones, who has felt and benefitted from the transformative power of the arts, there are some decision-makers who need to be convinced. 

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The Therapeutic Healing of Art Among Veterans

Posted by Phyllis T. Miller, Nov 28, 2016

Studies have proven that a designed interior with emphasis on color and art provides a therapeutic experience without stress to the client/patient, and is an ideal setting to gain the best outcome from a visit to the medical office or clinic. Unfortunately, there are those who see art as a luxury or an unnecessary expense, rather than as a therapeutic healing supplement to enhance the greater purpose and to improve both internal and external health. This is one of the reasons I created The Veterans Art Venue, with a mission to exhibit, to provide, and to empower through art, beyond words. Our art evokes a thought, a reflection and a therapeutic embrace.

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