From therapy to the stage: showcasing veteran talent

30048930800 5d7f8e4078 k From therapy to the stage: showcasing veteran talent

2016 National Veterans Creative Arts Festival in Jackson, Mississippi (Photo credit: U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on Flickr)

By Jonathan Kaupanger

Talented veterans from across the country are taking center stage at the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival (NVCAF) this week at the VAMC in Buffalo, NY. With exhibits of everything from painting to dance, the festival wants to inspire creative expressions from veterans dealing with post-traumatic stress and other psychological issues.

“Veterans at the Creative Arts Festival are an example of the tremendously talented men and women who have worn the uniform in service of our nation,” Veterans Affairs Secretary Dr. David J. Shulkin said. “The festival is a chance to recognize the progress and recovery of veterans who are accessing VA’s art and music therapy programs, and represents VA’s continued commitment to providing a full spectrum of health-care options.”

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2016 National Veterans Creative Arts Festival in Jackson, Mississippi (Photo credit: U.S Department of Veterans Affairs on Flickr)

120 vets will show off artwork, original written work, musical performances, dance compositions and dramatic readings in a variety show. All veterans participating are gold medal winners from the year-long, national fine arts talent competition.  Close to 3,500 veterans participated in the contests.

VA’s medical facilities use creative arts in recreation therapy programs to help both inpatients and outpatients, and the annual competition recognizes these veterans’ progress and recovery. NVCAF was designed to spotlight the four creative arts therapies the VA uses: art, music, dance and drama were all featured in the first combined stage show in 1989. Creative writing was added in 2005.

The competition includes 51 categories in the visual arts division, ranging from oil painting to leatherwork. On the performing arts side, there are 100 categories in music, dance, drama and creative writing.  If you’re interested in taking part in next year’s competition, you can go here for more information.  The competition is open to all veterans who are enrolled at a VAMC our outpatient clinic before entering the local competition.

This year’s show is presented by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the VA Western New York Healthcare System and the American Legion Auxiliary. Here’s the schedule if you’re planning on attending:

Events Open to the Public – Sunday, October 29, 2017.
Center for the Arts, University at Buffalo, 103 Center for the Arts, Buffalo, NY 14260

Art Exhibit and Creative Writers Meet & Greet – 12 Noon – 1:45 p.m.

Stage Show– 2:00p.m.

To request complimentary tickets, call (716) 862-6814.

Connect: @JonathanVets1 | Jonathan@ConnectingVets.com

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