Nationwide, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical facilities use the creative arts as one form of rehabilitative treatment to help Veterans recover from and cope with physical and emotional disabilities. Across the country each year, Veterans treated at VA facilities compete in a local creative arts competition. The competition includes 53 categories in the visual arts division this year that range from oil painting to leatherwork to paint-by-number kits. In addition, there are 120 categories in the performing arts pertaining to all aspects of music, dance, drama and creative writing. A national selection committee chooses first, second and third place winners among all of the entries. Select winners are invited to attend the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival each year.
Since 2000, the Auxiliary has played a key role in NVCAF as a cosponsor of the event, along with Department of Veterans Affairs. In addition to raising funds, Auxiliary departments also provide volunteers who assist with everything from punching meal tickets to stuffing programs to ironing costumes for the stage show. Best of all, Auxiliary members have the opportunity to meet and develop relationships with the veterans who participate.
The key purpose of the National Veterans Creative Arts competition and festival is to recognize veterans for their creative accomplishments and to educate and demonstrate to communities throughout the country the therapeutic benefits of the arts.