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About the Festival

National Veterans Creative Arts Festival

Nationwide, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities use the creative arts as one form of rehabilitative treatment to help Veterans recover from and cope with physical and emotional disabilities. Across the country each year, Veterans treated at VA facilities compete in a local creative arts competition. This competition includes more than 53 art categories that range from oil painting to leatherwork and even paint-by-number kits. In addition, there are 120 categories pertaining to all aspects of music, dance, drama and creative writing. The creative writing division is a more recent addition to the competition and includes original works in poetry, essay, short story, and personal experience writing. A national selection committee chooses first, second and third place winners among all of the entries. Select winners are then invited to attend the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival each year.

In 2012, 3,725 Veterans from 130 VA facilities entered the competition nationwide, with 140 of the medal-winning Veterans earning an invitation to participate in the 2012 National Veterans Creative Arts Festival which will be hosted by VA Boston Healthcare System.

The National Veterans Creative Arts Festival is a week of learning, exploring, fellowship and celebration of the healing power of the arts. Because the gold, silver or bronze medal winners are already selected to participate in the Festival, there is no competition at the event itself; rather, it serves as a showcase for the top national winners. During the week of the event, participants may attend classes in fine, applied and craft art, all taught by local artists. As part of the Festival, Veterans also visit a variety of local attractions including art museums and galleries, as well as other sites of interest to area visitors.

The Festival will culminate on Friday, October 12, 2012 with an art exhibit at the Massachusetts State House, featuring all first-place art entries and on Sunday, October 14, 2012 with a stage show performance at the Cutler Majestic Theatre in downtown Boston. The stage show is professionally directed with live orchestral accompaniment generously provided by the Music Performance Fund. Tickets are free and actively distributed to assure a full house for the Veterans' performance.

The National Veterans Creative Arts Festival is presented each year by the Department of Veterans Affairs, American Legion Auxiliary and Help Hospitalized Veterans.

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