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Veterans Creative Arts Initiative To Continue

Arkansas Arts Council - Tuesday, November 13, 2018


About 12 military veterans, community leaders and local artists meet Tuesday morning to discuss extending and improving a new pilot program meant to help military veterans get access to creative arts.

"It's an under-served population," said Patrick Ralston, executive director of the Arkansas Arts Council.

AAC staff have been working since June to bring art skills, awareness and therapy to veterans statewide. The initiative has tremendous potential to help Arkansas's veterans on multiple fronts, including overcoming Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and other stress-related issues.

AAC kicked off its first workshops dedicated to creative nonfiction writing and visual arts last month. More arts workshops will take place this year and next.

Karen Hayes, of Dogtown Poetry on Demand, and local musician Michael Eubanks plan to hold separate workshops. Hayes will be at the Community Living Center on Nov. 15 and the Adult Day Center on Nov. 20. Eubanks will be at the Day Treatment Program in Little Rock Nov. 21 and Dec. 10. He will be at the Adult Health Center in North Little Rock on Nov. 19 and Dec. 14.

The pilot program is a partnership effort among state, nonprofit and veterans' health-care organizations. AAC staff, artists and veteran advocates are working on a plan to bring workshops to veterans living in rural communities near Searcy, Pine Bluff and Hot Springs next year.

The goal is to help veterans find ways to express themselves, open communications and bring about peace and a sense of place, Ralston said.