Wellness, Arts, and the Military (WAM) supports the growth of artists and arts organizations who have arts and wellness programs for military connected communities. WAM began in 2017 as a Community Connections Project supported by the NEA Creative Forces Military Healing Arts Network. Through summits, convenings, and key partnerships, the WAM program has grown to include arts programming grants, training, funding, and outreach.
Wellness, Arts, and the Military in the news
Veterans Victory on the Court | On November 11, 2023, WAM collaborated with a new Veteran Owned business, 23|Kitchens in hosting a Pickleball Tournament to honor and celebrate Veterans. Tournament trophies were designed and made by Veteran Artists with the help of Lacey MakerSpace. Attendees had the opportunity to learn more about military connected art organizations to include MusicWorks4Veterans and Tacoma Arts Live while competing in a Social and Competitive Tournament.
Sa Faumuina, Vet Corps Member for WAM, said: “Art and Sports go hand in hand. Each an avenue of promoting healing and wellness.”
Click below to learn more about the event supporters:
Pictures courtesy of 23|Kitchens.
Card Writing Event | On January 31, 2023, Gabriella Smith from ArtsWA and Kara Atkinson from Pacific Lutheran University (PLU) hosted a card writing event for deployed soldiers oversees. PLUs students participated during their lunch breaks.
Kirill Perfiliev, a third year ROTC student, said: “I know my art is going to put a smile on someone’s face and it [the card writing event] was the highlight of my day.”
Pictured: Kara Atkinson & Gabriella Smith at a WAM card writing event.
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 by clicking here, or by watching in the player below.
MusicWorks4Veterans (MW4V) Performance at the Tacoma Recovery Center and Café (TRC) | In honor of Mental Health Awareness Month, MW4V members gathered at the Tacoma Recovery Center and Café on May 19, 2022 to play music and share stories about mental health. TRC offered people mental health resources as well as food, clothing, and personal hygiene items. Thank you to Doug White, the Tacoma Recovery Center Veterans Program Manager, for coordinating this volunteer-based event.
Lacey Vet Con | A free event held on April 30, 2022, with comics, board games, and guest speakers for veterans and the military connected community, hosted by the Lacey Veterans Services Hub. Attendees brought comics to the event and shared their collections with others. Thank you to the Lacey Veteran Services Hub volunteers, guest speakers, and to all who attended.
Wellness, Arts, and the Military Spotlight
Operation Paint to Heal
Pacific Northwest Veteran Assistance Program is a charitable organization that supports Veteran brothers and sisters who have served our country and are in emotional and financial need. One of their services is “Operation Paint to Heal” where they provide painting events for Veterans and their families to build a community of healing with Art. On January 10, 2024, PNW Veteran Assistance Program and the Lynwood Arts Commission hosted a Veteran Art Exhibit Reception for the community at Lynwood City Hall. The event featured artwork by Marine Veterans, Jake Powell, Michael Reagan and fellow local Veteran Artists and Military Family Members. WAM had the honor of tabling this remarkable event where further outreach occurred in championing the profound impacts of art within the military community.
Click below to learn more about the Organizations:
PNW Vet Assist Program: pnwveteranassist.org
Fallen Heroes Project: fallenheroesproject.org
is a veteran service organization that expands access to music by hosting community music programs. As a long-standing member of the Wellness, Arts, and the Military (WAM) Program, MW4V partners with WAM by participating in music outreach events for veterans and military connected people.
Video of MW4V’s performance of “Lonestar” (Norah Jones) featuring Gabriella Smith, Vet Corps Navigator for the WAM program, produced by MusicWorks4Veterans.
If you have any questions about the Wellness, Arts, and the Military program, please contact:
Bryan Bales, Program Manager, Wellness, Arts, and the Military
Daniya Baisubanova, ArtsWA WAM Program Specialist: firstname.lastname@example.org
Gabriella Smith, ArtsWA WAM Administrative Assistant: email@example.com
Sa Faumuina, ArtsWA WAM Vet Corps Member: firstname.lastname@example.org