Richmond, Virginia May 25, 2022 – Art for the Journey is one of 26 organizations nationwide selected to receive a Creative Forces® Community Engagement grant. A grant of $10,000 will support The AFJ Veterans Art program. Creative Forces Community Engagement Grants are part of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Creative Forces initiative and are in partnership with Mid-America Arts Alliance.
Creative Forces®: NEA Military Healing Arts Network is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs that seeks to improve the health, well-being, and quality of life for military and veteran populations exposed to trauma, as well as their families and caregivers. Creative Forces Community Engagement grants will increase access to arts activities in more communities and will serve a broad population, including active-duty service members, guardsmen, reservists, veterans, military and veteran families, as well as caregivers and healthcare workers providing care for military service members and veterans.
“It is inspiring to see how arts programming is being utilized by Art for the Journey to support and promote healing for our nation’s military, veterans, and all those who care for them,” said Dr. Maria Rosario Jackson, Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts. “Engagement with the arts – the act of doing, seeing, creating, teaching – is crucial to living healthy and artful lives. The expansion of Creative Forces from clinical sites into communities like Richmond, Virginia provides significant opportunities for this critical work to reach more people and make a difference in their lives.”
It has been said that ‘as humans, we are wired to create.’ When veterans who are experiencing difficulties or disability are provided the opportunity to produce works of art in the setting of a supportive community of volunteers, the results are not only beautiful but also is an exponentially positive experience for all involved. ~Cindy Paullin, Executive Director – AFJ
Art for the Journey provides monthly art experiences for veterans living with PTSD, and other disability/challenges in partnership with the Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Hospital staff and the Virginia War Memorial. Artists from the region and community and student volunteers support the experience with teaching assistance, friendship, and human connection. Art works created vary from paintings to clay sculpture to abstract art. Volunteers are professional artists, and community minded people and everyone greatly appreciates the service of the veterans to our country each time we meet.
Todd Stein, President and CEO of Mid-America Arts Alliance, said, “we are excited to support this project with Art for the Journey to promote continued healing through the arts for military populations in communities across the country.
The art experiences offered show how art can connect and heal. “He added, “Through the Creative Forces Community Engagement Grant Program, we are humbled to have the opportunity to work on this initiative with the National Endowment for the Arts, created in partnership with the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. “By providing opportunities for engaging in art or art-making, Art for the Journey seeks to help participants gain a better understanding of themselves and others through creative expression, while increasing their sense of belonging to our community. Participation in the arts often leads to individual and shared sense of purpose, as well as positive self-worth, supporting their ability to adapt and readjust to life’s circumstances.
For more information on other projects included in this grant announcement as well as resources for arts engagement with military-connected populations, visit creativeforcesnrc.arts.gov.
About the Creative Forces Initiative
Creative Forces®: NEA Military Healing Arts Network is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. The initiative seeks to improve the health, well-being, and quality of life for military and veteran populations exposed to trauma, as well as their families and caregivers. Creative Forces is managed in partnership with Americans for the Arts, the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine, and Mid-America Arts Alliance. More information can be found at arts.gov/creativeforces and creativeforcesnrc.arts.gov
About the National Endowment for the Arts
Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is an independent federal agency that is the largest funder of the arts and arts education in communities nationwide and a catalyst of public and private support for the arts. By advancing equitable opportunities for arts participation and practice, the NEA fosters and sustains an environment in which the arts benefit everyone in the United States.
About Mid-America Arts Alliance
Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA) strengthens and supports artists, , cultural organizations, and communities throughout our region and beyond. Additional information about M-AAA is available at https://www.maaa.org/.