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. The competition includes 53 categories in the visual arts division this year that range from oil painting to leatherwork to paint-by-number kits. In addition, there are 120 categories in the performing arts pertaining to all aspects of music, dance, drama and creative writing. A national selection committee chooses first, second and third place winners among all of the entries. Select winners are invited to attend the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival each year.
For specific division information, rules, and category descriptions please contact the recreation/creative arts therapy or voluntary service department at the VA medical facility where you are enrolled.
Most VA facilities hold their local competitions in February. Be sure to check with your VA facility as early as possible after January 1st. Veterans interested in participating in the competition should contact the local recreation therapy/creative arts therapy departments at the VA facility where they are enrolled, as early as possible to assure that deadline dates for submission of entries are met. Veterans must work with a staff person from the VA facility where they are enrolled. If you need assistance in identifying a VA staff person from your facility, please contact Amy Kimbler (320) 255-6486 or Elizabeth Mackey, National Director (320) 255-6351.
This competition is open to Veterans who are enrolled at a VA Medical Center or Outpatient Clinic BEFORE entering the local competition. An eligible Veteran can enter local competition at only one VA facility per year. He/she can submit an entry in creative writing, dance, drama or music categories with a Veteran or group from another VA facility, but still represents and must go through his/her originating VA facility to enter the competition. This facility should be the site where he/she receives their primary treatment. There is also a visual arts category for active duty.