Military Arts Connection (MAC) is a local resource that provided free artistic and creative Experiences for military community members living in the Pikes Peak region (El Paso or Teller counties). In partnership with Creative Forces®: NEA Military Healing Arts Network, the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region and Colorado Creative Industries (our state arts agency) are proud to operate Military Arts Connection (MAC), an online resource that connects military service members, veterans and their families to a wide variety of local arts enrichment experiences, with the support of the Colorado Springs Health Foundation.
MAC is about leveraging the power of the arts to help create stronger community connections, learn new skills, and enable our local military service members, veterans and their families to unleash their inner creativity. The MAC program is also designed to generate new economic opportunities for local artists and arts organizations, and to provide training and ongoing guidance for participating Artist Facilitators.
As of 10/5/2023, the grant funding has been fulfilled for Military Arts Connection (MAC) free art experiences for military members, veterans and their dependents. We are proud to have connected the military community to over 1,000 creative experiences with local artists across the Pikes Peak Region from 2019-2023. Although the grant funding has been fulfilled, the MAC program is still a resource that bridges the local military community, local arts community, and military service organizations in the Pikes Peak Region. Visit MilitaryArtsConnection.org to explore resources for future opportunities for connection, creativity, healing, and more. Learn more about the program and successes below.
- In 2022, there were a total of 177 MAC art experiences delivered to the military community. The program was paused most of 2023.
- During the pause, MAC provided micro-grants to sponsor the artistic military engagement of the programming through Parallel Universe by Art Exposure LLC, Various Art Experiences by Bemis School of Art and Guided Writing Experiences by Poetry Heals as delivery partners of the Military Arts Connection.
- After administrative updates, the MAC program resumed at the end of August 2023.
- There were 140 experiences ordered through Military Arts Connection.org in 37 days and 492 experiences delivered through our micro-grantees which fulfilled our Military Arts Connection grant in record time and brings the 2023 total experiences delivered to 632.
- From the very first experience ordered on June 18th, 2019 to the last on October 5th, 2023, there were a total of 996 experiences ordered through Military Arts Connection.org plus our micro-grantees, which brings our lifetime total to 1,488.
Creative Forces began in 2011 as a joint initiative between the National Endowment for the Arts, the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs that focuses on arts and healing in the military sector. In 2017, Fort Carson was selected as one of 11 national program sites. In addition to embedding a certified Music Therapist in a clinical setting on post at Fort Carson, the Creative Forces initiative also provided the initial funding to host a Community Summit, and to subsequently develop and launch a local “Community Connections” project that would take place off-post and engage the broader community. Our local project, Military Arts Connection, has been operating since June of 2019.
In February 2018, our Creative Forces Community Summit was held in the new Ent Center for the Arts at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. Attended by over 200 representatives from the military, arts, healthcare, government, education and foundation sectors, Summit participants identified the various needs and priorities for our community, which ultimately led to the development of the MAC program. Please watch the video below for a brief overview of the Summit.
Please follow these links for additional videos and content from the Summit:
- Summit Video—Nolen Bivens
- Summit Video—Renee Pazdan
- Summit Video—Alicia Souvignier
- Summit Video—Robin Dahmen
- Summit Video—Margaret Hunt
- Summit Video—Tim Whalen
- Download the official Summit Flyer.
- Download the Summit Agenda.
- See photos from the Summit.
- General information about Creative Forces on the NEA website
- NEA website’s Creative Forces Research page
- PsychArmor’s “Military Culture School for Everyone”
- VA Community Provider Toolkit
For more information about the national Creative Forces initiative, or our local Military Arts Connection program here in the Pikes Peak region, please contact Jeresneyka@CulturalOffice.org, or call 719-634-2204.