Today, I had the honor and the pleasure of delivering some of the awards at The 3rd Annual Veterans’ Creative Expression Art Show hosted by the Department of Veterans Affairs Livermore Division, Recreational Therapy Services, and Volunteer Services at the VA Hospital in Livermore, California. I was invited by Bud Donaldson, a member of the Livermore Art Association who was recently honored with a Jefferson Award for his years of work with veterans. I sat next to my counterpart in the Pleasanton Art League, Linda Jeffery Sailors, the president of that organization.
The program for the art show describes the event in this way:
This art show combines the work of two programs, the Community Living Center and the PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder) Clinical Team, in an effort to bridge the understanding among the differences and similarities of the two art-based approaches.
Prior to the show, the veterans wrote art narratives to be displayed alongside their art pieces. These writ-ups explain why and how they use art in their therapy and lives.
I want to thank the art therapists who have helped to change (and in some cases, SAVE) the lives of these veterans, through art. The works of the veterans themselves span the range of beautiful to disturbing. As one therapist explained, “Art is not always pretty.” The physical and mental trauma endured by the veterans is, in some cases, unimaginable. The ability to resolve the internal conflicts of some veterans through art is, in some cases, HARD to imagine, but it nevertheless occurs.
I saw wonderful works of 3D art, paintings, and photography. I had the pleasure of meeting some of the artists and congratulating them. All in all, it was an extremely satisfying afternoon!
I urge those who have control over budgets for such programs to continue their existence, that we may help to restore those who have given so much in the service of their country.
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