VA Seeking Talented Vets for Creative Arts Competition in Pensacola
Gulf Coast veterans will have a chance to display their creative and artistic abilities in the local competition of the 2015 National Veterans Creative Arts Competition March 5 in Biloxi, Miss.
Hosted by the Department of Veterans Affairs Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System, Bobbi Hakanson, recreation therapist and area competition coordinator, said the event's purpose is two-fold.
"As a recreational therapist, art is a modality I use with veterans I work with," she said.
"For veterans that have emotional issues or a physical disability, learning how to enjoy something like painting again, but having to use adaptive equipment, is therapeutic in many ways."
Hakanson said she sees changes in veterans who use the creative arts as a therapeutic outlet, sometimes immediately.
"It's just the creative process it doesn't have to be the finished project that makes them light up and feel good about doing something productive."
Many participants in the annual competition struggle with things such as anxiety and PTSD, according to Jordan Schupbach, public affairs officer for the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival, and they find their specific skill becomes the creative outlet that allows them to release that tension.
"We've been really encouraged to see the amount of improvement that creative art therapy provides for veterans," Schupbach said. "It's one of the holistic tools we provide that goes beyond the medical part doctors do."
They are 151 categories in the visual and performing arts divisions including oil painting, leatherwork and paint-by-numbers kits, as well as music, dance, drama and creative writing. First-place winners will go on to compete in the Broadway-style national competition in October in North Carolina.
The competition is open to vets enrolled at a VA medical center or outpatient clinic. Entry forms must be submitted to the Gulf Coast VA by noon, Monday and are available by contacting the local recreation or creative arts therapy departments at the VA facility where the veteran is enrolled.
For additional information about the local competition, call Bobby Hakanson at (228) 233-7348. Visit www.creativeartsfestival.va.gov to learn more about the national competition.
Want more information?
WHAT: 2015 National Veterans Creative Arts Festival.
WHO: Vets enrolled at a VA medical center or outpatient clinic.
WHERE: Biloxi VA Recreation Hall, 400 Veterans Ave., Biloxi, Miss.
WHEN: March 5.
CONTACT: Bobby Hakanson, (228) 233-7348 or visit www.creativeartsfestival.va.gov.
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