Helping military personnel heal from the complex wounds of our recent wars is a national priority that arts and military leaders in Colorado are embracing. This week, Colorado Creative Industries (CCI), a division of the Colorado Office of Economic Development, and the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region are bringing together creatives, neurologists, music and art therapists, active military members and veterans in a two day summit to understand and celebrate the powerful connection between the arts and the healing process as part of their participation in Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network.
Creative Forces is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in partnership with the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, plus state and local arts agencies. The partnership places creative arts therapies at the core of patient-centered care at 11 military medical facilities across the country, including Fort Carson in Colorado Springs, and increases access to therapeutic arts activities for military personnel and their families in local communities. In collaboration with the NEA and its partners for the Creative Forces Healing Arts Network, CCI and the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region are helping to identify and connect community leaders, artists, and programs that could provide increased community-based arts opportunities for military and veteran family populations.
More than 500,000 men and women of our armed services across the country are living with traumatic brain injuries or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), but research shows that participation in arts therapies can alleviate some of these symptoms by reducing stress and decreasing anxiety.
The two day Creative Forces Summit will feature presentations, discussions, and networking in order to foster collaboration between arts, community, and military representatives in supporting military and veteran families. The program will include a keynote address by photographer and veteran Stacy L. Pearsall. Pearsall got her start as an Air Force photographer at the age of 17. During three combat tours, she traveled to over 41 countries and earned the Bronze Star Medal and Air Force Commendation with Valor for combat actions in Iraq.
The Creative Forces Summit is free and open to the public and held at the Ent Center for the Arts University of Colorado Colorado Springs (UCCS) on February 15 and 16.