VSA Texas started services specifically for veterans with disabilities/wounded warriors in 2009. We host an annual exhibition of veterans artwork and provide opportunities year-round for artists to get involved with our Artworks: Creative Industries professional development program.
VSA Texas worked with the Austin VA to host the first annual Local VA Arts Competition in Austin in March 2013. Sixteen artists, writers, and performers entered this first competition. Winners in first place locally had images of their artwork or video recordings of their recitations sent for consideration at the national level. The top three entries in each category nationally are chosen to send their artwork for further judging.
We are proud to announce that two Austin area artists have been chosen to send their original artwork to Reno, NV for judging in the National Competition. If they win first place in their category, the artist will be invited to the Festival in Reno, NV in October.
Congratulations to Lee Carrell and Paul Pro!
Lee Carrell, Reversible Multi-Setting Ring (left) Paul Pro, HMS Endeavor (right)
The National Initiative for Arts and Health in the Military presents this report to open the door for a national conversation and the development of a National Action Plan that will ensure the availability of arts interventions for our service men and women and their families, and integrate the arts as part of the “Standard of Care” in military clinical as well as programs in community settings across the country. It was developed from the work of a roundtable meeting were participants were charged with recommending a framework for a “blueprint for action”, outlining possible strategies that will be necessary over the next several years in order to expand the use of the arts across the military continuum: from military service pre-deployment, deployment, post-deployment to veterans as well as families and caregivers.
Based on our research in partnership with the Texas Commission on the Arts, we have found there is a growing need for arts related services for Texas veterans and military personnel in our communities. If you are an arts organization interested in learning more about providing art programs for veterans, examples of successful programs, and trainings on working with veterans and military families, please contact us.
VSA Texas is proud to announce that it has received a $10,000 Quality of Life grant from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. The award was one of 76 grants totaling almost $427,000 awarded by the Reeve Foundation to nonprofit organizations nationwide that provide more opportunities, access, and daily quality of life for individuals living with paralysis, their families, and caregivers. Created by the late Dana Reeve, the program has awarded 2,131 grants totaling over $16 million since 1999.
VSA Texas will use the grant for expanding VSA’s Distinguished Artist Veteran’s programming, including the development of training modules with collaborating arts organizations, to better understand and work with disabled military personnel.
“We are thrilled to be awarded this critical Quality of Life funding for our Distinguished Artist Veteran program. This will allow us to work with arts organizations across Texas to foster creative partnerships with Veteran’s organizations, building bridges to the future for our wounded warriors and disabled American veteran,” said Celia Hughes, Executive Director of VSA Texas, the state organization on arts and disability.
“The Reeve Foundation’s Quality of Life Grants Program has always been a cornerstone of one of our core beliefs, the power of we. By supporting these organizations that align with the same beliefs as ours, we are better able to help our community members live more independently,” said Peter T. Wilderotter, president and CEO of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. “We are pleased to reward a number of tremendous organizations for their efforts.”
The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Quality of Life grants program was conceived by the late Dana Reeve to address the myriad needs of children and adults with paralysis and other mobility impairments and their families. Grants support critical life-enhancing and life-changing initiatives that improve physical and emotional health and increase independence. Funded projects offer a diversity of services and approaches: improving access; providing education and job training; sponsoring organized sporting activities; and much more. Quality of Life grants are funded through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Award #1U59DD000838).
About the Reeve Foundation
The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research and improving the quality of life for people living with paralysis through grants, information and advocacy. We meet all 20 of the Better Business Bureau’s standards for charity accountability and hold the BBB’s Charity Seal. The Paralysis Resource Center (PRC) is a program of the Reeve Foundation, and is funded through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Award No. 1U59DD000838. For more information, please visit our website at www.ChristopherReeve.org or call 800-539-7309.
The latest issue of Forefront Austin asks how Central Texas serves our veterans. VSA is highlighted as a service provider to the military population: “The very skills that helped veterans survive in combat situations can lead to problems as they return from Iraq and Afghanistan. Often they need help to adjust to social relationships with families, peers, coworkers and the community. Read on for programs supporting those with “invisible” wounds.
Through support from the National Arts and Disability Center, VSA Texas and the Texas Commission on the Arts have hired intern Emily Strawn to assist us on researching programs in the arts serving veterans. If you know of an art program specifically targeting veterans, please contact us at 512-454-9912.