The 2011 National Veterans Creative Arts Festival was commendably hosted by the Veterans Health Care System of the Ozarks in Northwest Arkansas during the week of October 17-23.  The staff and volunteers of the Fayetteville VA facility were wonderful hosts to the Veterans who participated in the Festival week consisting of art and creative writing workshops, exhibits of the first place-winning artwork from the 2011 national competition, and rehearsals and performances by medal-winning Veterans from the music, dance, drama and creative writing divisions.  Congratulations to the Veterans!  Please access the links on the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival to view the national first place artwork from 53 categories and to watch behind-the-scenes videos of the performance and week’s events.

Information regarding the 2012 local competition is now included on the website.  I encourage Veterans enrolled at a VA medical facility, outpatient clinic or state Veterans home to become involved in the 2012 competition at your local facility.

This competition is open to Veterans who are enrolled at a VA Medical Center, Outpatient Clinic, or reside in a state Veterans home BEFORE entering the local competition.  An eligible Veteran can enter local competition at only one VA facility per year.  He/she can submit an entry in creative writing, dance, drama or music categories with a Veteran or group from another VA facility, but still represents and must go through his/her originating VA facility to enter the competition.

Most VA facilities hold their local competitions in February and early March.  Be sure to check with your VA facility as early as possible after January 1st.  Veterans interested in participating in the competition should contact the local recreation therapy/creative arts therapy departments at the VA facility where they are enrolled soon, to assure that deadline dates for submission of entries are met.

Thank you in advance for considering the opportunity to share your artistic creations with others through the competition process and best wishes to you all!

Elizabeth Mackey is the Director of the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival.

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Published on Dec. 7, 2011

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One Comment

  1. Lola Teigland January 8, 2012 at 12:47 am

    Hi Elizabeth,

    I’m an artist, doing what I can to welcome our soldiers home. I’ve created a website, what I see as an artistic expression, for soldiers to submit something that tells of their plight. It can be a story, a painting (postcard of), a poem, or even an anonymous, raw expression of something they’ve not been able to tell anyone. Submission is easy. They just have to mail / e-mail it to me and I’ll frame and post it. Civilians are invited to post thank you cards, or any words of good will they have for our soldiers. I want to keep the plight of the returning soldiers front page news, and I thought art was the way to do it.

    I decided to do this because art is condensed truth, and a magnificent healer. And that sounds like something we all need right now. The site is brand new, all I have are a few civilian postcards. If you could pass the link onto these wonderful artist soldiers I’d be forever grateful. Really any advise you have for me to reach soldiers wishing to express themselves in this art project would be great.

    Lola Teigland

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