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We were so fortunate to have 23 veterans - men and women, from all branches of the military - join Art for the Journey in February for a painting session at McGuire Veteran’s Hospital. For several hours, our veteran artists enjoyed a low-stress environment where Art for the Journey volunteers and staff helped them find creative ways to express their thoughts and feelings through color and paint. Everyone participated to the fullest, including those who were physically disabled.

“It’s not about the painting. It’s what it does for you,” said Milton, a first-time participant. “It gives me confidence that I can paint and self-confidence in myself.”

Our veterans served all across the world: Afghanistan, Iraq, Vietnam and special operations in other areas. Besides physical disabilities, members of the group were dealing with PTSD and the effects of Agent Orange and VX Gas.

CBS6 reporter, Greg McQuade, visited the event and created a wonderful story capturing the impact and the work done by volunteer artists and Art for the Journey staff.

“It’s not about the painting. It’s what it does for you.”

Art for the Journey artist, Lauren Paullin, led the session using a watercolor depiction of one of the James River Bridges. Each of the veterans’ paintings was completed and each one expressed a unique message.

Our next veterans art project is scheduled for May where we will have our veterans create large abstract pieces of art that will be displayed at the new Virginia War Memorial C. Kenneth Wright Pavilion later this summer.

For more information or if you are interested in volunteering your time, visit our website, or contact Jamie Wigginton at Help us support our veterans, whose lives served all of us.