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Veteran Creative Arts Competition

The date has been set for the next local Fargo Veterans Affairs Creative Arts Competition. Finalists will advance to the National Level Competition.

This year's local Fargo Veterans Affairs Creative Arts Competition will take place on September 10th 2024. 

Artwork drop-off times for the 2024 local competition will be released in the next several months.  

national competition

What is the National Veterans Creative Arts Competition

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 enrolled at VA health care facilities compete in a local creative arts competition. The competition includes categories in the visual arts division that range from oil painting to leatherwork to paint-by-number kits. In addition, there are categories in writing as well as the performing arts of dance, drama, and music. 

Local Competitions

Local creative arts competition top winning entries advance to a national judging process and first, second and third place entries are determined at the national level. First place winning Veterans are invited to attend the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival hosted by a different VA facility each year.

The Festival

Co-presented by the Department of Veterans Affairs and the American Legion Auxiliary, the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival is the culmination of VA facility competitions in art, creative writing, dance, drama and music for Veterans enrolled in the Department of Veterans Affairs national health care system. Veterans exhibit their artwork and original writings or perform musical, dance or dramatic selections in a live stage show performance. All Veterans invited to participate are selected winners of a national creative arts competition in which thousands of Veterans enter from VA medical facilities across the nation.


 

Local Competition with wording

Attention

Fargo VA Will Only Participate in the Art Division
Finalists

Art Division Rules

Eligibility

Veterans must be enrolled to receive care at the Fargo VA medical facility before entering its local competition. the Fargo VA should also be the site where you receive your primary care. 

Veterans are only permitted to enter through one VA facility competition each year.

Submissions

  • Veterans may submit one (1) entry in up to three (3) individual Art Categories and one (1) entry in one (1) of the group categories in the art Division. 
  • A single entry may not be submitted into two or more categories within the Art Division.
  • Veterans may not expand the number of their entries in any one division using a different name (for example: pen names, stage names, different artist names, etc.).
  • Veterans who have received a gold medal in the same category from the Art Division for two consecutive years must enter a different category the third year. Failure to comply with this rule will result in the entry being disqualified.
  • Veterans may not enter the same art entry again in 2024 after it has previously won first-place nationally. Failure to comply with this rule will result in disqualification of the entry. Additionally, Veterans are encouraged to enter new material for 2024.
  • All artwork entered (except for the Military Combat Experience) must have been completed/photographed after October 1, 2023. Artwork submitted in a prior year in any form of completion may not be entered again.
  • All art entries must be created solely by the Veteran and/or Veterans submitting the art entry
  • All two-dimensional artwork must be exhibition ready (ready to hang for display).
  • Reproductions of another artist’s original two-dimensional artwork, photographs, or computer-generated art (including inkjet, Giclee and other types of reproduction methods) will not be accepted. The use of Giclee is only acceptable in the following categories: Printmaking, Black and White Photography, Color Photography and Digital Art. 
  • If an entry contains a craft kit, it must go into a craft kit category unless otherwise stated in the category definitions (for example: soapstone carving kits go into the carving category).
  • GUNS, BLADES, KNIVES or other WEAPONS will not be accepted due to VA regulations banning these items from VA facilities.
  • Dipped art, and puzzles (including puzzle kits) will not be accepted.    

Art Division Categories

*The below Art Division Categories are based on the 2023 Competition Handbook classifications. We anticipate that the 2024 Competition Handbook classifications will be released in March 2024. Historically, only minor changes have occurred from year to year. 

Fine Arts Category

Acrylic Painting

The creation of original work by applying acrylic paint to a surface.  The surface is not limited to canvas; it can be on wood, plaster, leather, metal, glass, etc. 

Oil Painting

The creation of original work by applying oil paint, oil sticks, or oil pastels to a surface.  The surface is not limited to canvas; it can be on wood, plaster, leather, metal, etc.  Encaustic painting should be entered into this category. 

Watercolor

The creation of work using watercolor paint.  The surface is not limited to canvas; it can be on wood, plaster, leather, metal, etc.

Monochromatic Drawing

A monochromatic drawing consists of lines that use a single color and shades of that color that may be done using pencil, ink, charcoal, etc.  Any use of additional color should be entered into colored drawing.

Colored Drawing

A colored drawing consists of lines of two or more colors and may be done using colored pencils, markers, etc.

Pastels

An art medium in the form of a stick, consisting of pure powder pigment and a binder.  A pastel is usually a painting rather than drawing because the color is applied in masses rather than lines.  Note: Oil pastels should be entered into the Oil Painting category.

Sculpture

Art created by shaping, combining, modeling or casting materials such as plastic, clay, textiles, wax or polymers into a work of art. They may be free standing or relief. 

Note:  Carved sculptures should be entered into the Carving category, metal sculptures should be entered into the Metalwork category, and glass sculptures should be entered in the Glasswork category.


 

Pyrography

A design burned into a surface by using wood burning tools.  The design must be original. This process is typically done on wood but can also be done on leather and other surfaces. If transfers or tracings are used, the piece must be entered in the Transfer/Engraving Art Kit category.

Printmaking

A multiple-replica (more than one copy or print) art form.  It consists of an original print or proof from a master plate created through such processes as lithography, etching, woodcut, engraving, etc.  Computer graphics must be entered into Digital Art category.

Pottery

A functional piece of fired ceramic ware (bowl, vase, pot, etc.)  The form can be wheel-thrown or hand-built, not slip cast in a mold.  Porcelain is included in this category.  Slip cast ceramics belong in Glazed or Stained/Painted ceramics categories.  Sculptural clay pieces should be entered into the Sculpture category. 

Black and White Photography

A monochromatic photograph using black and white and varying shades of grey or sepia tones. Photographs must be mounted and framed. This category includes both film and digital forms of photography.  Sepia and other tonal prints such as cyanotypes (blueprints) should be submitted into this category. 

Color Photography

A color photograph.  Photographs must be mounted and framed.  This category includes both film and digital forms of photography.

Digital Art

Art that was completely created using digital technology. The work is created entirely through software or applications.  All original entries must be printed, mounted and framed to qualify for this competition.

It is required that in addition to listing the software programs or applications used, techniques must also be detailed in the “mediums/techniques used” section of the entry form.  Use of Photoshop is only allowed if the application is used to wholly create an original piece, not to modify photography.  Animation and videos will be disqualified

It is required that in addition to listing the software programs or applications used, techniques must also be detailed in the “mediums/techniques used” section of the entry form.  Use of Photoshop is only allowed if the application is used to wholly create an original piece, not to modify photography.  Animation and videos will be disqualified

 

Note: Digitally enhanced/edited photography should not be entered into this category.  3D printed artwork will not be accepted.  Photography that has been digitally enhanced/edited should be entered into either the Black and White Photography category or the Color Photography category.

Military Combat Experience Category

Military Combat Experience

The medium used must be a fine art or applied art medium.  Unlike the other art categories, there are NO restrictions as to when the artwork was created however entries submitted previously into this category are not eligible to compete. 

To enter this category there are four requirements:

  1. A Word document containing a typed statement/narrative (50 to 250 words) composed by the Veteran and/or his VA staff contact person explaining how the art relates to the Veteran’s wartime experience.  Entries submitted without a write-up will not be judged.  Judging for this category equally takes into consideration the written narrative as well as the skill involved in the artwork. 
  2. The Veteran must have experienced combat duty during World War II, Korean War, Vietnam, Gulf War, Grenada, Panama, Kosovo, Somalia and other recognized combats or current combat operations.
  3. The artwork must relate to the Veteran’s personal experience in that war or conflict but does not need to be a graphic representation of that combat experience.


 

Applied Arts Category

Glazed Ceramics

Glazed Ceramics - Clay pieces formed by pouring slip in a mold, bisque fired, and then finished with the application of glaze(s) and fired. Entries that contain bisque pieces that are painted and/or stained, as well as glazed, are to be entered into the painted ceramic category. 

Stained or Painted Ceramics

Clay pieces formed by pouring slip in a mold, fired into bisque ware and finished with the application of stains or paints.  If firing is the last step when creating your piece, the piece must be entered into Glazed Ceramics.  Ceramics using both painting and glazing techniques should be entered into the stained or painted ceramics category.  

Woodworking

This refers to pieces constructed of wood that may have a functional/useful purpose, such as a jewelry box, a chess set, a clock, etc.  Wood lathe work or wood turning is included in this category.

Carving

Decorative art achieved by carving away unwanted materials from an original piece of material.  It may be relief or in the round.  Material used includes stone, wood, ivory and other hard substances.  Note: Soapstone carving kits are to be included in this category.

Jewelry (not beads)

Jewelry pieces made through casting, channeling, lost-wax, wire wrapping, etc.  Jewelry incorporating beads should be entered in the Beadwork category.

Crocheting/Knitting

The use of yarn or thread and a crochet hook, knitting needles or nifty knitters to create a pattern/design and is often a useful object. 

Collage

The art of decoration with small pieces of colored glass, tile, stone or other hard material used to create a pattern or picture.  

Assemblage

A form of sculpture comprised of "found" objects arranged in such a way that they create a new piece.  These objects can be anything organic or man-made.  Assemblage is three dimensional.  Personal collections alone (for example: coin collections, medal collections, etc.) will not be accepted.  (Dioramas will not be accepted in this category.  Diorama depicts a scene.)

Original Design in Needlework

This includes stitchery, needlepoint, quilting, sewing a garment, soft sculpture, embroidery, cross stitch, and crewelwork, etc.  These are original designs created and completed entirely by the Veteran that are usually worked on fabric (occasionally leather) with a needle to create a finished piece.  It may be flat or three-dimensional.  Pre-printed patterns on the fabric, the use of commercial patterns, charts or graphs should be entered in the Fabric Art Kit category or Needlework Kit category. 

Original Design in Fiber Arts

The use of a substance that can be separated into threadlike parts to create an original design in latch hook, rug punching, string art, basketry or weaving. Pre-printed patterns on the fabric, the use of commercial patterns, charts or graphs would be in the Latch Hook Kit category, Fabric Art Kit category, or Needlework Kit category.  

Knotting

Lacework made by knotting cords, thread or other fibers. Beads, shells or other decorative materials may be used.  Macramé and fly tying are examples of techniques that are in the knotting category. Tatting is included in this category.

Leather Carving / Tooling / Stamping

Involves the use of shaped implements (stamps) or other leather carving tools, examples include Swivel knife, veiner, beveler, pear shader, etc. Pre-cut leather pieces may be used. Kits are not accepted in this category. 

Metalwork

The primary material used is metal.  Tooling or punching a design or transfer, or metal assembled into a three-dimensional piece for decorative purposes are included in this category.  Lathe work using metal is included in this category.  Copper tooling should be entered into Transfer/Engraving Art Kit category.

Glasswork

Glass is used as the primary medium.  Examples would include stained glass, hand-blown glass, fused glass and glass etching and enameling.  Commercially shaped glass items that have been painted would be in one of the Fine Arts Painting categories.

Beadwork

Beads of any kind are used to create a design.  Examples would include beaded jewelry, beaded belts or other items made on a beading loom, etc.

Scroll Saw / Fretwork

Decorative open patterns cut out of wood or metal using a scroll saw and/or files.  Wood intarsia and marquetry are now included in this category.

Mixed Media

The distinct blending of two or more art techniques to create an object.  The use of two or more applied or fine arts techniques (category types) in the creation of a single piece of art.  Entries in this category must include a description. The types of art techniques (category types) must be identified on the entry form.  Example:  Painting, Sculpture, Carving.

Group Art Category

Group Art

A single art entry created by a group of Veterans.  Groups in art are not limited in number of group members.  However no more than 5 eligible invited Veterans from the first-place national competition winning entry in the Group Art category will be funded by the Festival.  Note:  Entries in this category must meet all size and weight restrictions.

 

Entries in Group Art category MUST also include: 

  • A Word document containing a typed statement/narrative (50 to 250 words) composed by a VA staff person and/or Veteran group members explaining the creative process, goals of the group, and other helpful information.  Entries submitted without a write-up will not be judged.  Judging for this category equally takes into consideration the typed narrative as well as the skill involved in the artwork. 

Craft Kit Category

  • Definition of a Kit entry: All materials needed to complete the project are supplied in the kit.  Embellishments may be made to the assembled kit using non-kit items.
  • Entries containing more than one kit will be disqualified (with the exception of the combined kit category).

Leather Kit

A kit that comes pre-cut, pre-punched, pre-embossed and ready to finish, stain and/or lace. 

 

 

 

 

 

Wood Building Kit

A wood kit that has a useful function such as birdhouses, carousels, cup racks, spice shelves, etc.

Model Building (Plastic, Metal, Wood) Kit

Snap together, glue together, or assembled plastic, metal, and/or wood model kits. (Diorama’s will not be accepted. The definition of a diorama is a three-dimensional representation of a display or scene.)

Weaving Kit

A kit that uses string, wood, fiber, etc. to create a design. This category now includes basket weaving kits, dream catcher kits and beading kits that DO NOT involve the use of a needle.  *Note: This category was formerly known as String Art Kit.

Latch Hook Kit

A rug kit that comes in a unit with the right amount and color of yarn in the kit and the pattern already printed on the canvas.

Craft Coloring Kit

A pre-printed design on fabric, paper, wood, canvas, rugs, etc that the Veteran fills in with colors of their choice using colored pencils, markers, paint, etc.  

Figurine Painting Kit

A pre-printed design on fabric, paper, wood, canvas, rugs, etc that the Veteran fills in with colors of their choice using colored pencils, markers, paint, etc.  

Paint by Number Kit

Involves applying oil, acrylic, or watercolor paints to the outlined numbered areas.

Suncatcher or Sand Art Kits

Suncatchers involve the application of transparent glass stains on a pre-formed and outlined plastic shape.  Sand art involves colored sand applied to pre-shaped adhesive areas.

Needlework Kit

A kit that utilizes yarn or thread applied with a needle to plastic, cloth or canvas.  Embroider kits, crewel kits, needlepoint kits, etc., are in this category.  Pieces created from pre-printed designs, the use of commercial patterns and graphs qualify for this category. 

Note: Beading kits that involve the use of a needle are to be included in this category.

Transfer / Engraving Art Kits

Copper tooling kits, foil scratch art kits and wood burning kits are included in this category which involves incising images, designs or patterns onto a surface by rubbing, scratching, burnishing, cutting or burning. 

Mosaic Kit

A kit that uses small pieces of colored glass, plastic, tile, stone or other hard material to create a pre-printed pattern or picture.  Woodscapes and Pixel Art would be included in this category.

Combined Kit

The integration of two or more distinctly different kits to create a single work of art.  A collection of model cars or ornaments, etc. will not be accepted. 

Diorama

A model representing a three-dimensional scene. National winning entry will not be shipped to the Festival. Winning entry will be displayed via a poster board.

Special Recognition Categories

The Special Recognition category of the visual arts division is divided into two separate categories.  The intent of these categories is to reinforce the concept of the arts as therapy, where an individual uses artistic expression to facilitate successful treatment outcomes.  Entries and their accompanying written statement/narrative from the Veteran’s VA staff contact person should focus on how the arts are used by the individual(s) to rise above severe limitations.  Judging for this category equally takes into consideration the written narrative as well as the skill involved in the artwork.  Entries submitted into the Art Special Recognition categories can be fine art, applied art or a craft kit entry.

Physical Disability

Entries that recognize individuals who exhibit creative expression through the visual arts while possessing significant physical limitations.

Mental Health Challenges

Entries that recognize individuals who exhibit creative expression through the visual arts while possessing significant emotional or mental health challenges.

Entries in each of the two Special Recognition categories MUST also include: 

  • A Word document containing a typed statement/narrative (50 to 250 words) composed by a VA staff person or the Veteran explaining why the Veteran is deserving of special recognition.  Entries submitted without a write-up will not be judged. 


 

 

nvca star

Kim Heazlett CTRS

Recreational Therapist & Veterans Creative Arts Competition Coordinator

VA Fargo health care

Phone: 701-239-3700 Ext. 2094

Email: Kimberly.Heazlett@va.gov