For veterans who need to speak out but aren’t keen on the idea of talking, it’s a way to express themselves. Not only is it a friendly outlet to show creative skills, it’s also part of therapy long after many have come home from war.
The first stage of the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival takes place Feb. 25 at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center. Deadline to enter is 4 p.m. Feb. 19. All veterans enrolled for care in the VA can participate. There are 53 art categories, as well as a separate talent competition for music, dance, drama, creative writing, stage performance and more.
More than 3,725 veterans from across the U.S. participated in the event last year.
Veterans may enter up to three pieces in the art category. The local art showcase begins at 11:30 a.m. Feb. 25 in the Matousek Auditorium. Stage performance for the talent categories will be at 2 and 6:30 p.m. in Recreation Hall, room 3435.
All events are at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center, 5000 W. National Avenue.
The top three winners from each category have a chance to compete on a national level, something Milwaukee-area participants do often. Marisa Straub, a creative arts therapist, has witnessed this many times over her more than 20 years of experience with the competition.
“Just last year, four of our vets were in the top three. One of them ended up ranking third nationally and the other one took first place.
“This is a great therapeutic healing opportunity, not just an art show,” Straub said.
For more information about participating in the art portion of the festival, call Marisa Straub at 414-384-2000, ext. 41976. For more information about participating in the talent portion, call Shep Crumrine, music therapist, at 414-384-2000, ext. ext. 42433.
For videos on last year's event, please go to: www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=3213465009242&set=vb.343819917119&type=3&theater and www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=3219785447249&set=vb.343819917119&type=3&theater .
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