Veterans ready for a week of camaraderie at annual event

Posted On: Monday, 10 April 2023

The 42nd annual National Veterans Creative Arts Festival (NVCAF) is here! This year’s event welcomes veterans and companions April 10-16 in St. Louis.  
2023 is sure to be an exciting year again for artists, performers, and writers. The annual NVCAF is co-presented by the American Legion Auxiliary and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. 
The Festival brings together creative veterans throughout the country who made it to the national level after competing at local VA facilities. Local creative arts competition top winning entries advance to the national judging process, and first, second, and third place entries are determined at the national level. First place winning veterans are invited to attend the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival hosted by a different VA facility each year. There is no competition at the Festival itself, as it is a showcase for previously judged medal winners.
VA medical facilities incorporate creative arts into their therapy programs to further the rehabilitation goals for both inpatients and outpatients. This annual competition recognizes the progress and recovery made through that therapy, and raises the visibility of the creative achievements of our nation’s veterans.
The Festival schedule includes a variety of workshops to help artists, creative writers, and performers further their craft and learn something new. 
This year, the creative writing entries surpassed the music entries for the first time, said Amy Kimbler, director of the national Festival. 
Each year, the week culminates in a stage show performance, writing exhibition, and gallery-style showcase of artwork. 
Once again, companions of veterans are invited and will have opportunities throughout the week to engage with each other, participate in a companion education workshop, and overall enjoy the Festival week and watch their veteran shine. This ties into 2022-2023 ALA National President Vickie Koutz’s focus on NVCAF companions. 
One thing that continues year after year is the American Legion Auxiliary’s support in volunteer hours and monetary donations that aid in enhancing all aspects of the event, both locally and nationally. Members will be on site in St. Louis helping in a variety of ways — always putting veterans’ needs first so they can have an incredible Festival week. 
As co-presenters of the NVCAF, and with members involved at both the local and national levels, the event truly demonstrates who the ALA is — a community of volunteers serving veterans, military, and their families.
Be sure to follow the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival on Facebook this week to keep up with Festival happenings. To learn more, visit the American Legion Auxiliary or the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs
By Sara Fowler

 In the St. Louis area?
If you are in the area during the Festival, come check out our talented veterans!

Art Exhibition 
10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. CT, Saturday, April 15
Soldiers Memorial Military Museum (1315 Chestnut St., St. Louis, MO 63103)

Writing Exhibition 
12:30-1:45 p.m. CT, Sunday, April 16
John Burroughs School (755 S. Price Road, St. Louis, MO 63124)

Stage Show Performance
2 p.m. CT, Sunday, April 16
John Burroughs School (755 S. Price Road, St. Louis, MO 63124)

ALA Mission

In the spirit of Service, Not Self, the mission of the American Legion Auxiliary is to support The American Legion and to honor the sacrifice of those who serve by enhancing the lives of our veterans, military, and their families, both at home and abroad. For God and Country, we advocate for veterans, educate our citizens, mentor youth, and promote patriotism, good citizenship, peace and security.