Martinsburg VA Medical Center
Medical center holds annual Veterans Creative Art Show
March 3, 2017
MARTINSBURG, W.Va. – Veterans and members of the community were treated to a visual spectacle Thursday at the medical center’s annual Veterans Creative Arts Show.
This year’s show consisted of 108 handcrafted pieces of art from 40 Veterans, and for many of the Veterans, it is a therapeutic way for them to heal and find a sense of belonging. For U.S. Army Veteran Preston Brown it was love at first sight.
Fifteen years ago Brown was sent to the medical center’s Hobby Shop as part of the program he was participating in. Ever since then he has been a participant in the creative arts show and a battle buddy and mentor to Veterans visiting the Hobby Shop. “The Hobby Shop gave me so much,” said Brown, “I wanted to give something back, so I became a Volunteer Service volunteer.”
For U.S. Army Veteran Shawn Jordan, a recreation therapy assistant at the medical center and event co-coordinator, this year’s show was a new journey down a familiar path. Before becoming the event co-coordinator, Jordan was a Veterans Creative Arts Show participant and winner. “I chose to switch roles and help out so that I could give back to other Veterans the way they gave to me when I first started going to the Hobby Shop,” he said. “When Veterans come here they don’t want to interact with each other, but then they start doing a piece of art and see another Veteran doing the same thing. This helps them build friendships and become comfortable interacting with others.”
Artwork that won first place at the creative arts show will proceed to national judging where it will be judged against first place winners from other medical centers across the country. Veterans whose artwork wins first place at the national level will be invited to a weeklong Veterans Creative Arts Festival in Buffalo, New York, later this year.