National Initiative for Arts & Health in the Military E-News

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November 2017 E-News

From the National Initiative Directory

Oklahoma Arts Council – Launched in 2015, the Oklahoma Arts Council's Oklahoma Arts and the Military Initiative is a strategic effort directed at meeting the needs of Oklahoma's military community through the arts. Part of the Oklahoma Arts and the Military Initiative in 2016, a pilot arts program was offered at the Veterans Center in Norman, OK through a collaboration between the Oklahoma Arts Council and the Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs. A formal evaluation of the program was conducted by a researcher from the University of Oklahoma's Knee Center for Strong Families. Download the evaluation "Engaging Veterans through Creative Expression."

 Guitars for Vets – With local chapters in over 32 states, Guitars for Vets (G4V) encourages self-expression and relationship building through music by working with Veterans to restore feelings of joy and purpose that can be lost after suffering trauma. Over the past ten years, the organization has refined a guitar instruction program aimed at providing Veterans struggling with PTSD and other emotional distress a unique therapeutic alternative. Weekly private guitar lessons provided by volunteers are individualized and designed to help students learn at their own pace while accommodating any physical and/or emotional challenges. Guitars for Vets currently operates 70 chapters in 35 states across the USA.

Federal and State Advocacy

The National Lieutenant Governors Association and Americans for the Arts Sign a State Military and Veterans Arts Initiative – In a first of its kind collaboration, the National Lieutenant Governors Association (NLGA) and Americans for the Arts signed the State Military and Veterans Arts Initiative to support the military and their families through the arts. To see who signed the Initiative and the states represented, visit the NLGA website; read the entire Resolution in Support of Collaboration on A State Military and Veterans Arts Initiative; and read more about the historical signing on July 28, 2017 here.

Taking Note: U.S. Army Bands & Music Analytics – The Chief of Army Music has set up an "Army Music Analytics Team" to define and gather data points to regularly collect information from Army bands to report quantifiable effects on event performance, audience engagement, and messaging," according to a recent report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). This is to answer the call of the GAO for evidence of the significance and effects of our military bands. For more information, read here

From the Field

The National Veterans Creative Arts Festival 2017 – Presented by the US Department of Veterans Affairs and the American Legion Auxiliary, the annual National Veterans Creative Arts Festival was hosted by the VA Western New York Healthcare System in Buffalo, NY. Over 120 Gold Medal recipients from across the country showcased their talents in visual arts, creative writing, and performance arts at the University of Buffalo's Center for the Arts on October 29.  The week included a Creative Writing Seminar, Visual Art Workshops, performance rehearsals and social events centered around the celebration of the arts for the health and well-being of our Veterans through the VA.  Read here for more information.

Second Lady Karen Pence Speaks at the Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Summit in Tampa – Mrs. Pence highlighted the value of art therapy for healing the invisible wounds of war, citing her personal Initiative "Art Therapy: Healing with the HeART." After delivering remarks at the luncheon, Mrs. Pence traveled to the James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital to meet with patients, recreation and creative arts therapists, and visit the specific areas where patients suffering from chronic pain, traumatic brain injuries, and post traumatic stress receive treatments. Learn more about Mrs. Pence's visit and her Art Therapy Initiative here.  Read more about Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network here.

 Upcoming Events

November 9, 2017 to January 31 2018: ArtOASIS Showcase, Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego. More than 100 active duty armed forces members engaged in weekly art classes and visits to the museum to produce original works of art as a means of coping with the effects of combat-related stress. Read more here.

November 11, 2017 to February 1, 2018: Matt Mitchell's 100 Faces of War Experience, Ed Paschke Art Center, Chicago, IL. The exhibit is a cross-section of Americans who went to war in Iraq and Afghanistan between 2001-2014, through their portraits and their words. The exhibit will be touring as part of the Smithsonian Traveling Exhibitions starting in 2018.  Read more here.

What We're Reading

The Things They Carried by Tim O'Brien. Originally published in 1990, this book is known as one of the premier works written about Vietnam, consisting of over 20 interrelated and interwoven stories based on O'Brien's military experiences in Vietnam over 45 years ago.  It clearly portrays the jungles of Vietnam, the young soldiers who face the unspeakable, and the impossible struggle of the survivors to return to the American way of life. It brings the war home and bridges the military/civilian divide for our Vietnam Veterans in the 50th year since the war ended. Highly recommended!

Confusion of Languages by Siobhan Fallon. A novel of military spouses by a military spouse stationed at the embassy in Jordan during the rise of the Arab Spring in 2011.  It tells the story of expat communities in the Middle East, the support, friendship, and jealousy of friends as well as the constant danger surrounding the rules of engagement.

What We're Watching


Drexel University PhD in Creative Arts Therapies: Jones, J.P., Walker, M.S., Drass, J.M. & Kaimal, G. (2017). Art therapy interventions for active duty military service members with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. The International Journal of Art Therapy. Read more here.


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For more news and events during November: To honor Veterans and to celebrate the Month of the Military Family, join the National Initiative for Arts & Health in the Military's closed Facebook Group!

If you are an arts & military program or provider, please join the National Initiative Directory and submit your online listing today!

Any questions? Contact Susan M. Saloom at [email protected].  (credit "True Colors" by Ron Whitehead)

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