20 October 2011

Sharing Opportunity at the Arts in Healing for Warriors Conference at the new Walter Reed & NICoE

I was privileged to present information about the Vet Art Project at the invitation of the Society for Arts in Health Care at the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and NICoE in Bethesda, Maryland last weekend. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn what's happening around the country--Walter Reed provides creative arts therapy for some patients!--and learn how art is helping in the healing process for those who have served our country. It was a wonderful opportunity, too, help inspire others to invest in the project in their home communities. I shared the philosophy and how to build a supportive community.

15 September 2011

Reflections 10 Years After and Counting

On September 11th I was in Chicago at my job as a development book editor. The CEO closed the office early and we all went home to be with our families. I spent the afternoon with my husband witnessing the devastation and feeling my life transform. It was a day of great tragedy as was (and is) it's aftermath.

Looking back, it was on this day that I began to ask myself the question "What difference was I making in the lives of others"? This day propelled me forward on my journey that first led me to be against something but as I spent time with the Buddhist teacher Thich Nhat Hanh and then the military families who feared for the well-being of their sons and daughters, I realized that it was much better to be FOR something than AGAINST something. So my question then became "What positive difference can I make in the lives of others"?

I believe the Vet Art Project grew out of these events--helping others give voice to their experiences from war and service. Introducing or strengthening artistic languages to connect with and convey buried feelings for self-revelation, to communicate these feelings to other family members so they may know what you experienced whether during service or on the homefront for the spouses and loved ones left behind, and to learn from the experiences of the children and their losses. Sharing these stories with others, to build bridges of communication and community, reconnecting the veteran and civilian populations to help us understand the enormous impact of war and service on us all, this is but one of the many Phoenixes that arose from this tragedy.

I regret the events that started me on this path--my thoughts and prayers are with those who sacrificed so much on that day--and I am grateful for every step thereafter.

16 August 2011

It's been too long! News from the HomeFront of the Vet Art Project

Hello My Friends,
I cannot believe it's been so many months since my last blog post. I've been busy D O I N G instead of reporting on what I'm doing—my apologies, however, at my absence. Here's what I've been up to as I continue my training as a drama therapist:
—1 internship in Tucson, Arizona with One Sacred Nation Healing, a Wellbriety Program that uses Native American principles, laws, and values to teach others a program of wellness and sobriety
—1 internship in Evanston, Illinois with the Institute for Therapy through the Arts, working with creative arts therapists, drama therapists, and music therapists and 16 different population groups to get more hands-on training practice in drama therapy
—2 Grief Trainings with the Institute for Psychoanalysis, Chicago
—1 Creative Arts Therapy Workshop with the School of the Art Institute Chicago Art Therapy Program
—I attended the Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed Conference, Chicago
—1 Poetry Therapy workshop with Dr. Sherry Reiter (www.creativerightingcenter.com), Black Mountain, NC
—1 Warriors Journey Home Healing Retreat (forthcoming later this week), Red Bird Center, Cambridge, OH, and
—I will be appearing on a panel at a conference sponsored by Society for the Arts in Health Care (more to come on this) in October, Bethesda, MD
—and more to report in the weeks to come

My commitment to the project remains steadfast and will begin to grow more apparent in the months to come with upcoming announcements.
Vet Art Project Chicago continues to grow stronger with new programming the city colleges in Chicago
Vet Art Project Pittsburgh recently assisted at the National Veterans Wheelchair Games & at Stand Down Pittsburgh

And calls for programming and offers of support keep coming in from around the country.
Want to help? Send an e-mail to vetartproject@gmail.com
The Vet Art Project continues to be fiscally sponsored by Fractured Atlas so you can make a tax-deductible contribution. Just go to our Web site and click on the link on the home page.

In gratitude for all the stories and offers of support,