The National Veterans Creative Arts Festival is the celebration and grand finale stage and art show of a talent competition in art, creative writing, dance, drama and music for Veterans in VA’s health care system.  This year, the final performance and show will be held in Jackson, Mississippi, on Oct. 16.

Approximately 120 Veterans, all gold medal winners from the months-long competition, have been invited to participate in a grand finale show at Jackson’s Thalia Mara Hall. The participants competed against more than 3,500 of their fellow Veterans to earn the honor to represent a multitude of categories ranging from music, dance and drama performances to creative writings and various other works of such as paintings and sculptures.

The community is encouraged to come out to view and support the talents of these Veterans. The art exhibit will be open from noon – 1:45 p.m. and the stage show will begin at 2 p.m.  Tickets for the event are free, but required to attend the stage show.  Contact the Jackson VA Public Affairs at 601-368-4477 to reserve tickets for the Sunday, Oct.16 show at Thalia Mara Hall, 225 Pascagoula Street in Jackson.

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The festival, presented by VA and the American Legion Auxiliary, showcases the artistic achievements of Veterans from across the country who placed first in national art, music, dance, drama and creative writing division competitions. Among many other therapeutic benefits, the festival encourages artistic expression to help Veterans dealing with PTSD and other psychological issues.  Throughout the year, more than 3,500 Veterans participated in regional competitions at their local VA facilities.

For more coverage of the Creative Arts Festival visit

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Published on Sep. 28, 2016

Estimated reading time is 1.4 min.

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  1. Rhoda Benita Donovan September 30, 2016 at 11:54 pm

    Hi. I am writing about someone who is a Military Veteran who served in both the Army and the Marines. She, yes, she was used in Classified Ops only and so, was Not given her DD214, recognition, benefits, etc. We know that she is Far from the only one going through this, having been told, as have many of her colleagues if not still known cohorts, that she was to keep quiet about her Service as a way of continuing to Serve. To the best of our knowledge there is No paper trail of proof that she Served, Only the facts that she did and did so honorably.

    It Has been decades since her having left the Service, yet she still suffers from Gulf War Syndrome, now more definitively diagnosed, as well as ptsd. After many years of silence used to Serve, she realized that her work, Classified as it was, will never appear in history books. She realized that some might deny her identity as a US Veteran; yet, she could stay silent no longer. Now, while she will Never speak of the “wheres, whens, whoms, etc., never to even approach breaching National Security which she swore more than one oath to preserve, she has recognized a no longer deniable need to speak of her life as a Veteran with Very real needs and issues that are directly related to her having Served in the Military.

    Question: Does the VA have Any programs to help such persons. We already know personally of some others, some who spent decades rather than the relatively shorter span the woman I write of spent Serving this Country. Can you tell us what is being done for people like her?

    One time, and one time only, did I see with my own eyes, a VA site wherein, at the bottom, it was said that there were groups available to Service Members/Veterans who either Served via Classified Ops and/or Veterans who were dishonorably discharged, but still had needs for help. Is this something still available to your knowledge Anywhere in the USA?

    Can you help us by steering myself or the one I write of by seeking help for the woman I described? Please respond either way. It will give us an idea of whether the VA is or may now hold a formal stance on this subject or not. I hope they do… We will see. “Never say never ,” as the woman I write of has so often said!

    Wishing you only the best!


    R. B. Donovan

  2. Michael A Rodriguez September 30, 2016 at 2:01 pm

    Hi Mr. Hicks, I enjoy your articles. I wish I could get to “The National Veterans Creative Arts Festival in Jackson, Mississippi, on Oct. 16.”

    I am a professional writer and movie producer up here in New Castle, Delaware. A Vietnam Veteran (honorable), and enjoy the Vet Community. One of my comedic movies, “The Wilmingtonians,” can be found on YouTube for free:

    My second movie, a documentary, “Slavery’s Children” is on Video on Demand:

    My books can be found on under Michaelangelo Rodriguez. My most recent title is “Delaware Shore” which will be made into a movie:

    Hope to hear from you soon.

    Michael A Rodriguez (aka: Michaelangelo)
    New Castle, DE 19720

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