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 partner 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. 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 AOV Glass Artists meet in the hot shop most Sundays. Veterans interested in learning more are encouraged to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 expand this concept for Veterans interested in creating in clay, painting, photography, jewelry making and more. With the generous support of a benefactor an expansion to include photography arts was launched in 2020. Veterans participated in the One Day Tampa Bay 24-hour photo challenge and many of the AOV glass artists took advantage of the opportunity to learn how to photograph their glass art and the glass making process. This is a skill that is critical for the glass artists who aspire to market their artwork and build professional portfolios. Photography also served as a creative connection for remote and sequestered Veterans.
In the Spring of 2021, an open call to Veterans in the region, encouraged participation in a series of Photo Meet-Up opportunities. These photography skill building excursions involve technical skill building in support of the photographer's creative expression. Clients at the JAHVH also participated in a series of virtual creative classes using photography. Veterans interested in photography program details are encouraged to contact email@example.com.
Individuals interested in supporting the expansion of the Operation: Art of Valor program are encouraged to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 accessibility initiatives and is proud to be partner in a program 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.