Hi VSA Texas Community! It’s April here, and I wanted to tell you more about one of my favorite programs I am working on called Distinguished Artist Veterans. This is our veteran services and we started it in 2009. It has been growing steadily over the years and I am really excited about the way it is headed.
We started Distinguished Artist Veterans as an art exhibit featuring works by Texas Veterans with disabilities. That exhibit became an annual event and our next one is coming up in November/December with a display by 22 veteran artists at The Institute of Texan Cultures in San Antonio. We will have some great work on display, including this piece Holy F@!#ing Brain Damage by Jenna Paige Donnell.
Jenna is currently in the Texas Army National Guard. She says, “This acrylic/ mixed medium painting is an ode to Traumatic Brain Injury, and the many wounded vets with combat related, or induced Multiple Sclerosis, that others and myself have had to endure. The title is an ironic statement of the actual problem that so many veterans are now being faced with. I came up with the concept to raise awareness to this under stated problem.” If you are in San Antonio I highly recommend you attend this exhibit. The opening reception will be Thursday, November 6th from 6-8 pm.
I really enjoy putting together this exhibit and meeting new artists and helping all of our veteran artists gain access to the resources they need to further their careers in the arts. Did you know that there is a movement nationwide recognizing the importance of the arts to our military and veteran communities? Through extensive research we found that many arts and veteran service organizations are rallying around our troops to make sure that they have the power of the arts as a tool to express themselves creatively. For those who have endured the harsh conditions of military conflicts, music, writing, performance or visual art can be a welcome outlet.
Our involvement in this effort has gained us many new partnerships with organizations such as the VA and their National Veterans Creative Arts Festival. We help host the local competition here at the Austin VA Outpatient Clinic.
The Telling Project is another great organization that provides personal storytelling and theater for veterans. They are hosting a performance in San Antonio at The Tobin Center October 1-5 and then in Austin at the B Iden Payne Theater, University of Texas October 25, and at the Austin Playhouse November 7-9.
The Veteran Artist Program is hosting their annual Arts and Service Celebration in Austin from October 19-25. This is a great opportunity for veterans interested in the areas of visual art, performing art, writing, film, and new media to network with professionals in the field. Registration is open now at www.artsandservice.org
I am really excited about the great opportunities being made available for our Texas veteran artist community and look forward to being involved in many more to come!