New Investments in Healing Arts Programs for the Military

Colorado Creative Industries Joins Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network

The role of the arts in helping heal the signature wounds of our recent wars is significant and expanding. Through its national initiative Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is adding new clinical sites to the network, including Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, Colo. and expanding the initiative's programming in partnership with the Colorado Creative Industries (CCI), a division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT).

Creative Forces places creative arts therapies at the core of patient-centered care at 11 clinical sites, now including Fort Carson, for service members and veterans dealing with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as well as their families and caregivers. With state and local leaders, the initiative also increases access to therapeutic arts activities in the local communities around each base for this military population.  Join the conversation on Twitter at #CreativeForces.

"It is a great honor for the National Endowment for the Arts to provide art-based services through our Creative Forces initiative and to welcome Fort Carson in Colorado to the network," said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. "Our partnership with Colorado Creative Industries will help the initiative reach more military personnel, veterans and their families who will find new avenues for healing and growth through the arts."

To build the community component around Fort Carson, CCI and its partners will:

  • Establish local military and community networks that can help service members and veterans transition from clinic-based creative arts therapies to arts activities in their communities.
  • Convene local summits where arts, community and military populations collaborate on strategies to support military and veteran families. The summits also will offer training.
  • Pursue an innovation project that may be adapted to other locations. Project ideas under development include:
    • Providing tele-support services for remote locations
    • Aligning resources and strategies within a region or across federal and state agencies
    • Undertaking program assessment

"We are pleased to partner with the NEA to provide vital art-based therapies to Colorado individuals who have served our nation and their families," said CCI executive director Margaret Hunt. "We look forward to working with the Fort Carson community and co-hosting the upcoming summit later this year."

Since 2011, the NEA has partnered with the U.S. Department of Defense to support creative arts therapies as a key element of integrated care for service members suffering from TBI, PTSD and associated psychological health conditions.

In fiscal year 2016, Congress appropriated a $1.928 million budget increase for the NEA, specifically to expand this military healing arts program. Joining the network with these new sites as a partner is the Department of Veteran Affairs. Americans for the Arts is working with the NEA to provide administrative support and the Writers Center in Bethesda, Maryland is participating in research and resource delivery.

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