Creative Forces®: NEA Military Healing Arts Network is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs and the state and local arts agencies. The initiative seeks to improve the health, wellness, and quality of life for military and veteran populations exposed to trauma, as well as their families and caregivers. Administrative support for the initiative is provided by Americans for the Arts and the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine.
In partnership with Creative Forces, the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region and Colorado Creative Industries are pleased to present Military Arts Connection (MAC), an online resource that connects military service members, veterans and their families to a wide variety of local arts enrichment experiences.
The MAC program is not about art therapy, and the majority of our participating Artist Facilitators are not certified Creative Arts Therapists. Instead, MAC is about leveraging the power of the arts to help create stronger community connections, learn new skills, and enable our local military service members, veterans and their families to unleash their inner creativity. The MAC program is also designed to generate new economic opportunities for local artists and arts organizations, and to provide training and ongoing guidance for participating Artist Facilitators. Ultimately, we hope that MAC will support the military’s emphasis on resiliency and wellness, and help to create new and sustainable connections between the military and arts & cultural sectors here in Colorado’s Pikes Peak region.
Creative Forces began in 2011 as a joint initiative between the National Endowment for the Arts, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Veterans Affairs that focuses on arts and healing in the military sector. In 2017, Fort Carson was selected as one of 11 national program sites. In addition to placing a certified Music Therapist in the Warrior Recovery Center at Fort Carson, the Creative Forces initiative also provided the initial funding to host a Community Summit, and to subsequently launch a local “Community Connections” project that would take place off-post and engage the broader community.
In February 2018, our Creative Forces Community Summit was held in the new Ent Center for the Arts at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. Attended by over 200 representatives from the military, arts, healthcare, government, education and foundation sectors, Summit participants identified the following needs and priorities for our community, which ultimately led to the development of the MAC program and this website:
- Create a centralized, local hub for Creative Forces information and resources.
- Improve outreach and communication across the local military community to raise awareness/engagement for creative arts engagement, services, and resources.
- Provide cultural competency training for community artists and arts organizations working with military populations.
- Provide increased access to arts engagement experiences for local active duty service members, veterans, and military dependents.
- Secure the funding necessary to fairly compensate artists for providing services to local military and veteran populations.
This website is the central feature of the MAC program. In addition to providing general program information, listing future training opportunities, and hosting directories of participating Artist Facilitators and Military & Veteran Service Organizations, the primary purpose of the MAC website is to connect military service members, veterans and their families with free arts enrichment experiences. A system of prepaid electronic credits (funded by local and regional foundations) fuels the connection process, pays the Artists Facilitators for their services, and eliminates the financial barrier for Service Organizations to participate in the program. Most importantly, this website is designed to serve and support the members of our local military community, and to provide them with expanded access to local arts enrichment experiences.
The MAC program is truly a “win-win” proposition for those involved: providing a meaningful service to our local military community, and supporting the artists and arts organizations who live, work, and create across the Pikes Peak region. In the future, we hope that the success and impact of our MAC program here in Colorado Springs will eventually be replicated in other military communities across the country.
Here’s How You can Get Involved
If you work for a local Military & Veteran Service Organization, please follow this link to learn more about getting involved in the MAC program.
If you are a local artist, or work for a local arts organization, please follow this link to learn more about getting involved in the MAC program.
If you are a local military service member, veteran, or dependent who would like to take advantage of the MAC program for yourself or a family member, please follow this link to learn more about getting involved in the MAC program.
If you have questions, please contact us!