Operation: Art of Valor
The Morean Arts Center meets the needs of military and veteran communities
In the spring of 2018, the Morean Arts Center began a community-based arts program with James A. Haley Veterans’ Hospital (JAHVH), one of several clinical sites for Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network. The Network, is a partnership among the National Endowment of the Arts (NEA), the U.S. Department of Defense, and Department of Veteran Affairs and state agencies that serve the special needs of military patients and veterans who have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury and psychological health conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The network consists of doctors, creative arts therapists, artists, arts organization staff and community members who believe in the transformative and restorative powers of the arts.
As the regional community-based arts program the Morean Arts Center began working in partnership with the Network, the Morean Arts Center initially offered glassblowing and glass art classes in their Morean Glass Studios. Veteran Chris Stowe, saw the particular benefit of bringing the art of glass blowing to Veterans. He had a long-time fascination with glassblowing and completed a 13-week intensive glassblowing course made possible through an art theraphy grant. From that moment, Chris knew he wanted to help other veterans benefit from the experience of glassblowing. His passion and resolve combined with the resources and expertise of the Morean Arts Center proved successful. With the support and partnership of the JAHVH in Tampa, Art of Valor quickly developed into a structured course with a curriculum consisting of six levels of instruction. Studies completed by the University of South Florida Graduate Psychology program revealed that the developed glass art program was especially valuable in serving the needs of the military and veteran population through structured, hands-on learning that focuses on improving cognition, social interaction, physical dexterity, teamwork and confidence building.
The initial glass art concept was so successful that discussions evolved to include other art forms, with hundreds of courses offered to the community over all art mediums, the Morean Art Center is uniquely positioned to serve this community need. An expansion to include photography arts is currently in development and with the support of other agencies and funders experiences in clay and other art mediums are expected to follow.
While it’s therapeutic for veterans to participate in community-based arts programs, it’s important to note that these programs are not considered therapy, but serve as an opportunity for continued self-expression through the arts outside of clinical care. For over 100 years the Morean Arts Center has connected the community to Art. With a mission of serving the entire community, Morean has numerous accessiblity initiatives and is proud to be part of an initiative that serves military patients, veterans and the community.
Life lessons from the curve of a glass bubble
Operation: Art of Valor in Action
This project is sponsored in part by the Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs,
the Florida Council of Arts and Culture and the State of Florida and the National Endowment for the Arts.