More than 3,000 Veterans across the country have begun entering local competitions for the 2012 National Veterans Creative Arts Festival, scheduled for Oct. 8-14 in Boston.
"The Department of Veterans Affairs is committed to providing therapeutic solutions that go beyond traditional physical medicine," said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. "The National Veterans Creative Arts Festival provides an artistic avenue for the physical, mental and emotional healing of our Nation's heroes."
The competition, presented by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the American Legion Auxiliary and Help Hospitalized Veterans, includes 53 categories in the visual arts division that range from oil painting to leatherwork to paint-by-number kits. In addition, there are 120 categories in the performing arts pertaining to all aspects of music, dance, drama and creative writing.
"The American Legion Auxiliary's sole purpose is to support Veterans, military, and their families, and this year we are focusing on honoring the service of Veterans who make our Auxiliary membership possible," said American Legion Auxiliary National President Kris Nelson. "We are proud and humbled to be able to participate in the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival as just one way we can show our support."
Mike Lynch, President and CEO of Help Hospitalized Veterans, echoed her sentiments. "As a long-time national co-presenter of this annual event, we again look forward to a program that inspires all who witness the shining talents of America's Veterans, who remain motivated regardless of their health challenges."
The competition is open to Veterans enrolled at a VA medical center, outpatient clinic, or who reside in a state Veterans home. An eligible Veteran may compete at only one VA facility per year. Veterans may submit an entry in creative writing, dance, drama or music categories with a Veteran or group from another VA facility, but still must officially enter through their home VA facility.
Veterans submitting an entry must work with a staff person from the VA facility where they are enrolled. All required forms must be completed and postmarked to the National Chairperson no later than April 1 in order for Veterans to be eligible to compete at the national level. Specific division information, rules, and category descriptions are available in the 2012 competition handbook available on the Festival website at www.creativeartsfestival.va.gov or through local VA recreation therapy or voluntary service offices.
The national judging process occurs during the months of April, May and June. Selected medal-winning Veterans from the national competition will be invited to participate in the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival. Those receiving an invitation to the Festival will be notified in late June via the VA staff contact person by June 20, 2012.
This year, the VA Boston Healthcare System hosts the event which will feature an art exhibit of all the first-place art entries from the national competition on display at the Quincy Marriott Hotel on Tuesday, Oct. 9. The program will culminate on Sunday afternoon, Oct. 14, with a gala stage show performance at the Cutler Majestic Theatre in downtown Boston.