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Wellness, Arts and the Military

Wellness, Arts, and the Military (WAM) is is ArtsWA’s program that serves military-connected populations. WAM began in 2017 as a Community Connections Project supported by the NEA Creative Forces Military Healing Arts Network. ArtsWA co-sponsored Creative Forces summits  in 2017 and 2019. We partnered with WA Department of Veterans Affairs and other veteran’s organizations for these convenings.

Through summits, convenings, and key partnerships, the WAM program has grown to include arts programming grants, training, funding, and outreach.

What are the program objectives?

ArtsWA is a central resource to support grant funding  and education through WAM. We aim to:

  • Support health and wellness of the military community through the arts
  • Build connections through network and outreach
  • Build understanding about military culture and reintegration challenges
  • Build capacity for arts organizations to grow and sustain their military focused arts programs

Supporting veterans through art therapies

Veterans make up 8.9% of the population in Washington State. Connecting arts therapy to these groups supports healthy reintegration following active-duty service.

Research suggests that typical approaches to post-deployment wellness often fall short. Arts engagement impacts the quality of life for Washington’s military population. Arts engagement therapy is impactful and cost-effective. It increases social engagement, improves self-esteem and overall wellness.  It provides a safe setting for veterans to express their military experience through art, music, dance, theater, and writing. Often, these newly learned creative skills turn into business opportunities for veterans.

WAM’s cohort model opens a door to needed health and human services by connecting teaching artists, veteran’s services organizations, and clinical service partners.

WAM Winter Convening

The WAM Winter Convening took place December 3, 2021. Topics included military culture and transitions, suicide awareness, networking, outreach, and grants. If you were unable to attend, you can watch the recording in the player.

Music Works 4 Veterans

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Path with Art – Seattle

When the pandemic struck, Path with Art in Seattle pivoted to a virtual platform. It taught veteran art classes through Zoom, and mailed art kits and iPads to vets who needed them. Participation increased by 200% during this time. Their plan is to continue online classes in some capacity going forward.

Brenda MaltzMeet Brenda Maltz

Art Therapist Brenda Maltz is an employee of the Henry Jackson Foundation and a member of the NEA Creative Forces Healing Arts Network. Brenda’s clinical experience with active duty and transitioning military members at Joint Base Lewis McChord is a great asset. Brenda helps ArtsWA and the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs build a model of cooperative partnership projects that support Veteran health and wellness through creative arts engagement.