(COLORADO SPRINGS) — Members of the military, past and present, must conform to the rigidity of their discipline so exploring their creativity allows for outlets that they otherwise might not find.

According to the website, Military Arts Connection is an “online resource that connects military service members, veterans, and their families to a wide variety of local arts enrichment experiences.” It is also emphasized that the program is not about art therapy.

“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 website states. MAC connects organizations and artists so they can connect with the military community.

One of the organizations that partners with MAC is the Military and Veterans Program (MVP) at Pikes Peak State College (PPSC). Veterans Voices Art Show is part of what the MVP is doing for this week to honor veterans. It is going through Nov. 25 at the Studio West Gallery located at 22 North Sierra Madre Street in Colorado Springs.

PPSC Centennial Campus
Courtesy: FOX21 News

“Pikes Peak State College will host an exhibition of original artwork by regional veterans at the Gallery at Studio West in downtown Colorado Springs,” according to MVP’s website.

SITREP is PPSC’s military arts journal and is accepting submissions. It is in its third year of publication and will publish its online edition in November. “Pikes Peak State College is publishing the 3rd Edition of the SITREP Magazine for Veterans Day 2022. SITREP is Pikes Peak State’s literary arts journal. Showcase your poetry, photography, fiction, non-fiction, and other creative works.”

All of PPSC’s campuses for the week of Nov. 7 through Nov. 11 will have a photo display “to honor the veterans of our community. This will include students, staff, faculty, families, local community members, and local organizations,” MVP’s website says. Be sure to check out all the activities the MVP is doing on their website.

The Fine Arts Center’s Bemis School of Arts offers a class, Military Artistic Healing, three times a year. The class is taught by two licensed therapists, Tina Reyero and Kim Nguyen.

Bemis School of Art
Courtesy: FOX21 News

Reyero wrote these goals for the class, “There are many benefits to using art to express emotions — art can furnish a healthy outlet and an alternate way to communicate something that one cannot always put into words and provides a safe containment for emotions that are expressed. Reflecting on art provides insight and growth. Increase personal management of life stressors by utilizing artistic exercises outside of class to help with trauma.”

StableStrides is another partner of MAC that also provides a number of services where individuals partner with horses. Clients can sign up for MAC classes through StableStrides but the horses are not involved with MAC classes Chester DeAngelis, Clinical Services Director, said.

“The art we do with clients is mostly with kids of military families and the horses. We build costumes for the horses in sessions, do some art in the office before or after work with the horses and involve the horses in painting or chalk art quite frequently,” DeAngelis said

Mt. Carmel Veterans Service Center also partners with MAC among the many other services provided. They work with the Bemis School of Art as well to facilitate art therapy classes. Here are the three locations and soon-to-be fourth and contact information:

  • Administration Office: 530 Communication Circle in Colorado Springs. (719)772-7000
  • Pueblo Office (Medical Arts Building): 1925 East Orman Avenue, Suite 156 in Pueblo. (719)309-4719
  • Fountain Office: 6436 South U.S. Highway 85/87 in Fountain. (719)725-2737
  • Coming Soon: Trinidad Office

MAC’s website has a list of its partner service organizations, artist facilitators, and experiences for those interested in the program.