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Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network is a National Endowment for the Arts initiative
Washington's Creative Forces program is supported by The National Endowment for the Arts.

Creative Forces

Creative Forces is a program at eleven military hospitals across the country. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) works in partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) and Veterans affairs on this program. The Intrepid Spirit Center at Joint Base Lewis-McChord’s (JBLM) Madigan Army Medical Center is part of this network of medical facilities.

The program helps to treat traumatic brain injury (TBI), PTSD, and other psychological health conditions. It uses creative arts therapies at the core of patient-centered care.

ArtsWA works with NEA, DOD, Madigan Army Medical Center, and other partners to support this program. We are working to build a network of community-based programs for current and former patients and their families. This network will help them as they transition from treatment in a clinical setting to arts programming in their community.

How did the Creative Forces Program Start?

How did the Creative Forces Program Start?

The Creative Forces program began in 2011 at National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) Walter Reed, MD. In 2016, Congress funded the expansion of this military healing arts program to the following military facilities:

  • Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson | Anchorage, Alaska
  • Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton | Oceanside, California
  • National Intrepid Center of Excellence (NICoE) at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center | Bethesda, Maryland
  • Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune | Jacksonville, North Carolina
  • Fort Hood – Killeen, Texas
  • Fort Belvoir Community Hospital | Fort Belvoir, Virginia
  • Madigan Army Medical Center | Tacoma, Washington
  • Joint Expeditionary Base I Little Creek, Virginia
  • Fort Campbell | Kentucky
  • James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital | Tampa, Florida
  • Fort Carson | Colorado

Creative Forces Summit 2017

Creative Forces Summit 2017

ArtsWA collaborated with the NEA and Americans for the Arts to host the first Washington Creative Forces Summit. The Summit convened at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma on September 26, 2017.

The summit gathered together individuals and organizations from the local arts community and the military. Presenters, panelists, and participants represented a diverse and growing local network of professionals. This network is working to expand therapeutic arts activities for military personnel, veterans, and their families around Joint Base Lewis-McChord. An ad hoc Creative Forces Summit Organizing Committee planned the summit. Representatives from arts organizations, artists, creative therapists, and state agencies comprised the committee.
Read the 2017 Creative Forces Summit Report to learn more.

Creative Forces Summit II 2019

Creative Forces Summit II: Serving Washington’s Military and Veterans through the Arts
October 2-3, 2019 | Clover Park Technical College, Lakewood

This two-day workshop was an in-depth and hands-on training opportunity for arts organizations serving, or wanting to serve military, veterans, their families, and/or caregivers.

Arts organizations built a road map moving from planning to action. They learned to link their organization’s program activities with key metrics to identify challenges, improve communications, and measure successes.

ArtsWA hosted this event. Additional support came from the WA State Department of Veterans Affairs, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), and Boeing Co.