On Feb. 1, 2011 the Menlo Park Division of VAPAHCS was immersed in sounds, color and textures that captivated and calmed the imagination and spirit of local Veterans.
More than 160 Veterans and family members attended the Creative Arts workshop, in preparation for the Creative Arts Festival, which will be held on March 16, 2011. Some of the art included photography, collage, matting, creative writing, art from the heart open-ended expression, oil painting, fly tying, drawing, hope chests, watercolor, knitting/crocheting, and craft kits. The workshop was an opportunity for Veterans to experience a new art medium without the pressure of a classroom or material fees. They had a chance to learn how to use the materials and begin a project. Veterans can also enter their art into the Creative Arts Festival.
According to recreation therapists Ashley Myers and Renee Magana, the workshop has been a gateway for Veterans in their rehabilitation, as well as a form of creative expression. For many people, art was stopped at a young age so it can be intimidating to pick up a crayon or try painting after so many years. “We’ve had many Veterans tell us it was ‘good therapy’ for them and that they really enjoyed themselves. We hope that they continue to find a way to express themselves creatively throughout their life, as we have seen the benefits,” said Myers.
The Creative Arts festival in March is a day for Veterans to display their artwork and creativity to the larger VA community. The first place winners in each category will be sent to the National Veterans Creative Arts Competition, which will be held Oct. 17-24, in Arkansas.
Any Veteran can enter their artwork with an entry form and a VA release form, as long as it was made within the past year. Anything made before April 2010 will not be accepted. Veterans should give their art, entry form, and release to their local VA recreation therapist or to the VAPAHCS Creative Arts Festival coordinators, Jeff Stadler or Drea Brandom at 650-493-5000 ext. 25011.