Nationwide, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities use the creative arts as one form of rehabilitative treatment to help veterans recover from and cope with physical and emotional disabilities. Across the country each year, veterans treated at VA facilities compete in a local creative arts competition. The competition 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.
A national selection committee chooses first, second and third place winners among all of the entries. Select winners are invited to attend the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival each year.
The veterans invited to participate in the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival are selected winners from the 2013 national competition. Learn More
The key purpose of the National Veterans Creative Arts competition and festival is to recognize veterans for their creative accomplishments and to educate and demonstrate to communities throughout the country the therapeutic benefits of the arts.
For information regarding entering the competition, please contact recreation/creative arts therapy staff at the VA facility in which you are enrolled. If you need assistance in identifying a VA staff person from your facility, please contact Amy Kimbler at (320) 255-6486 or Elizabeth Mackey, national director at (320) 255-6351.Competition Overview | 2012 NVCAF Photo Gallery
Since 2000, the Auxiliary has played a key role in NVCAF as a cosponsor of the event, along with Department of Veterans Affairs. In addition to raising funds, Auxiliary departments also provide volunteers who assist with everything from punching meal tickets to stuffing programs to ironing costumes for the stage show. Best of all, Auxiliary members have the opportunity to meet and develop relationships with the veterans who participate.
"Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in."—Marjorie Moore, Belleville, Ill.