Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in partnership with the Department of Defense that serves the unique needs of military patients and veterans who have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and psychological health conditions, as well as their families and caregivers. In 2017, the NEA announced the expansion of the Creative Forces program to include Fort Carson in Colorado Springs. Now, in partnership with Colorado Creative Industries (CCI), the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region is serving as the administrative lead for our community’s local Creative Forces initiative.
To formally launch our local effort, the Cultural Office and CCI hosted an amazing Creative Forces Community Summit on February 15 & 16, 2018 at the Ent Center for the Arts, on the UCCS campus. The Summit “sold out” two weeks in advance, and was attended by over 200 active duty military, veterans, military family members, artists, arts and military service organizations, creative arts therapists, healthcare providers, educators, and others from the community. 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.
- Learn more about our Closing Keynote Speaker, Stacy Pearsall.
- 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
Building on the insights and recommendations from the Summit, the Cultural Office is now working with community partners to develop a new demonstration project called Military Arts Connection that will help to grow the local Creative Forces network, and build even stronger connections between the arts and military sectors here in the Pikes Peak region.
Military Arts Connection will leverage the power of the arts to help local military service members, veterans and their families to heal from the trauma of war, and to facilitate the community connections that are necessary for continued success in ongoing recovery and reintegration processes. In addition to providing training for local program participants, a new website at MilitaryArtsConnection.org will enable military and veteran service providers to access free arts-based therapies and cultural engagement experiences on behalf of their patients and clients.
Concurrently, the Military Arts Connection program will generate new economic opportunities for the local artists who will be sharing their talents and offering positive interventions and creative experiences in support of military populations across the Pikes Peak region. In addition to funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, Military Arts Connection is also supported by a grant from the Colorado Springs Health Foundation. Military Arts Connection is scheduled to launch in late spring 2019. Those interested in learning more about the program should email andy@CulturalOffice.org.
More about Creative Forces:
Since 2011, this military healing arts partnership with the Department of Defense has supported creative arts therapies for service members with traumatic brain injury and associated psychological health issues at two military medical facilities in the Washington, DC, area—the National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) at Walter Reed Bethesda in Maryland, and the NICoE Intrepid Spirit-1 at Fort Belvoir in Virginia. Learn more.
Creative Forces places creative arts therapies at the core of patient-centered care at ten additional clinical sites. In addition, the expanded Creative Forces program supports efforts to increase access to therapeutic arts activities in local communities for military members, veterans, and their families, as well as invests in research on the impacts of these innovative treatment and engagement methods.
For more information about the local Creative Forces initiative in Colorado Springs, please contact andy@CulturalOffice.org, or call 719-634-2204.