CreatiVets’ mission is to provide combat veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress and traumatic brain injury with opportunities to use art, music, and creative writing to heal their unseen wounds of war.
“ It’s hard to express in words how I felt after that experience, but I know I let go of something deep and feel that this experience is going to allow me to maintain that positive attitude while giving me the courage to live a meaningful life with my children. ”— Veteran Participant, Art Program
CreatiVets currently offers two programs – a songwriting program that pairs veterans with accomplished songwriters in Nashville to write a song, and a three week art program with either The School of the Art Institute in Chicago (SAIC) or Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) where veterans learn ceramics, painting and photography. Our programs are structured to reach veterans on an individual basis to ensure they are getting a customized, one-on-one experience to best help them heal.
For most veterans, talking about their trauma can be a unique challenge. Military service teaches the “carry your own pack” mindset, where our servicemen and women learn they must be strong enough to carry their own burdens, whether physical, mental or emotional, in order to survive the grueling nature of combat. This mindset prepares them well for their duties, but for veterans that suffer from PTS, it can hinder them in getting the help they need because they don’t want to burden anyone with their story. It can also be painful for the veterans to re-live their experiences and loss each time they tell their story. Yet in the CreatiVets program, the veterans’ focus is on creating a tangible work that embodies their experience, rather than directly talking about their story. Each of our programs is designed to maximize the opportunity for the veteran to use art to first address the events that caused the trauma, and then show how art can serve as a coping mechanisms the veteran can utilize without “handing off the pack.” By creating something beautiful out of something tragic, the veteran often takes the first step towards healing, and also learns that in sharing the song or piece of art with others who are affected by the work, the veteran is not alone in the struggle to cope.
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The CreatiVets songwriting program pairs veterans with accomplished songwriters and music artists to allow them the opportunity to creatively express their story through a song. The veteran travels to Nashville, Tennessee, where he or she is met by a veteran that has gone through the program and can help make the veteran comfortable with the experience, and then participates in a songwriting session to write a song that is recorded and made available for the veteran to share with family and friends.
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Visual Arts Program
CreatiVets has partnered with The School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC) and Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) to provide a three week, fully-accredited art program for disabled veterans at no cost to themselves. Veterans have full access to studios and equipment at the school, and the program gives them an opportunity to create and discuss art with some of the best art instructors in the country. Through the process, veterans learn the benefits of using art as a form of stress and anxiety relief, as well as a way to tell their stories.
We are so grateful for all of the support that makes our programs possible.
Our Featured Partners
Combat veterans need our help when they come home from war. Please offer assistance in any way that you can. Thank you for your generous donation!