Three hundred veterans participated in this year’s Veterans Creative Arts Festival held at the Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Milwaukee. Participants showcased their talents in 51 visual and 100 performing arts categories, including oil painting, paint-by-number kits, music, dance, drama, and creative writing.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities use the creative arts as a form of rehabilitative treatment to help veterans recover from and cope with physical and emotional disabilities. The competition is open to veterans enrolled at VA health care facilities.
Thanks to the American Legion Auxiliary Foundation’s $2,500 Veterans Creative Arts Festival grant and donations from Auxiliary units and members throughout the Department of Wisconsin, additional art supplies and art display walls were purchased to enhance the festival.
“We are fortunate to have received a grant from the ALA Foundation which allowed us to purchase supplies to be used for the upcoming shows,” said ALA Department of Wisconsin President Bonnie Jakubczyk. “The art show and the live talent competition are the first step to getting to the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival, which is co-sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary.”
The top winners from this event will move on to the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival in Des Moines, Iowa, this fall.
“This extra support enabled us to help our veterans in a way that we could not have done on our own,” Jakubczyk said.