BWW Previews: VETERANS AND CIVILIANS SHOWCASE ART THERAPY FOR HEALING at Straz Center For The Performing Arts
Art in all forms is healing.
On Friday, August 31, VetArtSpan, a year-long creative collaboration with area veterans, civilians and local and national organizations will showcase personal stories, spoken word, dance, choreography, and artwork like painting and blown glass at The Straz Center's TECO Theatre from 7 - 8:30 pm.
"In 2016, the government began to engage in a more serious conversation about the importance of art and art therapy as a way to serve the needs of veterans from a healing standpoint of view and also in ways of recreating pathways of reintegration back into the community," said Fred Johnson, Artist-in-Residence at The Straz Center.
Out of this dialogue was born VetArtSpan.
"We want to engage the community and build a bridge between art therapy in VA hospitals to community organizations to help the civilian community better understand military life and what we can do to support our returning veterans," he explained. "VetArtSpan is our demonstration project working towards creating that link between the VA hospital and the greater art community, and between veterans and civilians."
The Straz Center for the Performing Arts and James A. Haley Veteran's Hospital present this special project as part of Creative Forces®: NEA Military Healing Arts Network, an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs and state and local arts agencies.
Out of 11 states involved in the project, the Straz Center is the only performing arts center participating.
Free and open to the public, on-site will be representatives from Bay Pines Veterans Hospital, James A. Haley Veteran's Hospital and The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.
"Art can be a catalyst for understanding, transformation, change and bringing people together. That's what the evening is all about - to tell the VetArtSpan story, see what we do and this is why it's important. People can see some authentic outcomes," said Fred. "It's an evening to celebrate the bridge-building between the veteran community and civilians using art as the pathway."
To learn more visit vetartspan.org for stories, videos, and podcasts about local veterans and caregivers and how art has been an important part of their rehabilitation and healing process. Doors open at 6 pm and the performance starts at 7 pm in the TECO Theatre. https://strazcenter.org/Events/Straz/Shows/Other-Straz-Center-Events/VetArtSpan-Showcase