Giving Compass' Take:

• Robert Lynch outlines how arts and creative expression can work to heal veterans painful experiences as well as bridge the divide between military and civilian life. 

• How can we create more spaces that work to support veterans when they return from their tours?

• Read about one veteran's mental health recovery through the arts. 

The evidence and examples of how the arts are helping veterans heal and thrive keeps growing. We see more and more examples of how through their art veterans are contributing to the artistic and cultural legacy of this country, shaping our understanding of what still needs to be accomplished. But what paints a hopeful picture of support is the actions of key federal agencies such as the Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense, and the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), supported by a growing network of not-for-profit arts and cultural groups, veterans service organizations, and a legion of empowered veteran artist-advocates.

We had examples right in front of us of what seemed to be working—creative arts therapy being employed in military medical centers and at VA facilities to treat signature wounds of war; non-profit arts groups working in the community to support military kids in coping with a parent’s multiple deployments; veterans returning from combat using the arts not only in recovery, but in reintegration in community and the creative workforce.

The arts are bridging the military/civilian divide, helping to heal the many wounds of war, and bringing solace and joy to the millions of military service members, veterans, and their families in every corner of the country.

Read the full article on veterans and the arts by Robert Lynch at Americans for the Arts.