More than 100 veterans were equipped with the tools to help them learn new art and music skills while helping develop their self-esteem and feeling of self-worth. After receiving a $2,500 Veterans Creative Arts Festival Mini Grant through the American Legion Auxiliary Foundation, the Department of Iowa, in collaboration with the VA Central Iowa Healthcare System, purchased supplies for its Local Veterans Creative Arts competition. This included art and craft supplies, music equipment, instruments, medals, ribbons, and banners that were displayed at the competition.

“We were able to purchase so many supplies for veterans to use to create and perform and these were entered in our Local Veterans Creative Arts Competition,” said Music Therapist Suzanne Anderson.

Community members were invited to the local competition to see firsthand just how talented the veterans are. The local winners will compete in the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival, which for them will conveniently be held in Des Moines later this year.

“We are always proud of each veteran who enters the competition,” Anderson said. “Some have entered before, and others are new. It can be a scary thing to share your talents or your intimate thoughts or issues through music, artwork, or writing.”

“I am thankful for the new art supplies. They help pass the time when I am in the hospital, and I enjoy creating new things, said one veteran recipient.
Anderson said learning the new music skills will help veterans relax and take their mind off troubles.
“The veterans truly enjoy the creative arts and are lucky enough to get to experience them every day at the VA,” said Anderson.

For more information about ALA Foundation grants, visit