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VA WNY Healthcare System hosts veterans creative arts festival

By Philip Anselmo

From the VA Healthcare System:

Nationwide, 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 medical centers compete in local creative arts contests. This competition includes 50 art categories, ranging from oil painting to leatherwork to paint-by-number kits. In addition, there are 120 categories pertaining to all aspects of music, dance, drama and creative writing. The creative writing division is a more recent addition to the competition and includes original works in poetry, essay, short story, and personal experience writing.

VA Western New York Healthcare System’s Buffalo site, 3495 Bailey Avenue, will host the local Veterans Creative Arts Festival on Thursday, February 26 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in Freedom Hall (Room 301).  The public is invited to attend the local festival and enjoy a wide variety of creative art forms displayed by local Veterans.

The winning entries will be sent to be judged by a national selection committee, which chooses first, second and third place winners among all of the entries. Select winners are invited to attend the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival, taking place in San Antonio, Texas, October 5-11.

In 2008, 3100 Veterans from 113 VA facilities entered the contest nationwide, with nearly 150 of the medal-winning Veterans earning an invitation to participate.  The National Veterans Creative Arts Festival is a week of learning, exploring, fellowship and celebration of the healing power of the arts.

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