There’s a tremendous difference between expressive art and exploratory art. Expressive art can be done anywhere, even in spaces facilitated by artists. Exploratory art–that is, art that delves deep into one’s life journey including traumas–can be safely explored only in spaces facilitated by a trained expressive arts therapist such as a drama therapist, art therapist, music therapist, dance/movement therapist, or bibliotherapist (writing & poetry therapist). It’s important to understand the difference. The Vet Art Project only works with trained expressive arts therapists. This gives participants the assurance that they can safely explore whatever arises for them in an exercise. The following is a partial list of programming we can bring to your hometown. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for additional programming ideas.
Women Warriors Project
An opportunity for women veterans, female family members, and women artists to form a creative expressive community for sharing stories. Note: Advance assistance will help you prepare for a weekend workshop we facilitate, which will include foundational exercises to start community building, and will be followed by ongoing support to assist local residents continue the group and mentor group facilitators.
Witnessing Veterans Stories Workshop
A two-part workshop that uses the tools of artistic self-expression to explore the stories of service down range or stateside, to connect with feelings related to service, and it’s life impact; life on the home front is explored by partners and children. Community members are invited to attend a witnessing workshop that explores differences between watching and witnessing, and exploring how to be present for someone who is sharing his/her story—traumatic or otherwise. These new skills are then put into practice when art from the first part of the workshop is shared with community members.
2.5-hour 1-day workshop (90-minute workshop with veterans and family members; 60-minute workshop with community members)
Reconnecting: Veterans’ Family Project
Working separately in peer groups, veterans and family members will explore their experiences and create art from their stories down range and on the home front, and then reconvene to witness and learn from these stories toward healing and enhancing familial communication. A separate peer group for children is part of this program.
Caregivers Support Group
A bi-monthly support group for spouses and partners of veterans. Each meeting features a different expressive arts therapeutic exercise to explore meaning, make connections to self and others, discover new truths, and build a solid foundation comprised of self knowledge, resiliency, good self care, and esteem.
Stress-Reduction Workshop Series
A series of workshops that combine strategies for good self-care and artistic self-expression to learn the tools of resiliency we each possess and to uncover and explore feelings related to life after military service. Activities are selected based on themes provided by group members.
1 90-minute session, 6 1-hour workshops, or 12 1-hour workshops
Memory Boxes and Making Meaning
Sometimes it’s difficult to find the words you want to share. Sometimes we don’t know the words we want to share. Creating a special place for memories–whether its a room of your own or a place to store your stories or a way to start a conversation with a loved one, or to honor someone who’s gone, the process of creation can offer new self-awareness and a new beginning.
Teaching techniques for cultivating presence in everyday life. Participants will learn simple stretching and breathing exercises, techniques for letting go and embracing acceptance in all aspects of one’s life, and experience a variety of forms of meditative practice. Participants will be helped to embrace the impact and value of their service in the military, in whatever capacity, and realize that they did and do make a difference.
3-hour 1-day workshop or weekend workshop
The Hero’s Journey
Based on the work of Paul Rebillot, this workshop series will help participants explore meaningful moments in their life journey, generate new understanding and acceptance of life’s challenges, identify emotional triggers, learn methods to embrace all aspects of the self, and become familiar with self-care techniques.
8 2-hour workshops
Therapeutic Theater Project
Participants will use a variety of theater, writing, movement, and visual art exercises to creatively explore their life experiences in a nonjudgmental environment. Participants will discover they are not alone in their feelings and experiences, learn to trust one another, and identify the tools they possess to foster their own resiliency. The project culminates in a collective performance to be shared with family or community members, if group members choose to do so, followed by a talkback. Length of project to be determined as needed.
Vet Art Project USA: The Vet Art Project to Go
A workshop where expressive arts therapists, veterans and family members, and/or compassionate civilians learn the philosophy of the Vet Art Project, experience expressive art exercises to start and grow the process of community building among participants, and strategies to foster support for the Vet Art Project in your home community. College-campus-based projects and hometown project techniques will be taught based on the needs of the group. Recent college program sites include Miami University, Ursuline College, Stark State Community College, Cuyahoga Community College, DePaul University, and Northern Illinois University. Community sites include Chicago, Phoenix, Santa Fe, and Milwaukee.
- Women Veterans Theater Project
- On the Home Front—for partners, spouses, and adult family members
- Kids on the Home Front
We also offer expressive arts workshops and programming combining elements of:
- Short Story Writing
- Improvisation, and