Military Women’s Memorial promotes mental health healing by featuring artwork created by veterans

Virginia

ARLINGTON, Va. (WDVM) — The Military Women’s Memorial in Arlington is promoting mental health healing through the power of art.

Step into the new art exhibit and into the mind of a veteran struggling with mental health. The exhibit, titled Summer With the Arts: Healing, Freedom, Family, allows veterans to tell their stories through colors, pencil and paints.

“Some artists find that, working through art, they’re able to express themselves and their experiences in other ways, and that’s what we see here exhibited this summer,” said Amy Poe, collections manager at the Military Women’s Memorial.

The exhibit is a collaboration with Uniting US, a non-profit that connects veterans with therapeutic art.

“We’ve brought in artists from every state, and 170 piece of artwork. They all have a story, and that narrative is really important,” said Annemarie Halterman, Executive Director at Uniting US.

A story may be one like Cynthia Scott’s, a veteran who created three pieces for the exhibit. She was mobilized to the Pentagon after 9/11.

Scott says creating helps release her feelings onto something tangible.

“I guess I kind of picked up that habit of visually processing things through making art, even as a military kid, moving around from one place to another,” Scott said.

After a year of isolation during the pandemic, the hope is that the artwork will inspire tough, but important, conversations surrounding mental health.

“It gives a way for a conversation to be started without that awkward ‘can I talk to them about it or not?,'” said Halterman.

The exhibit will run all summer, aiming to educate the community about veteran sacrifice and the arts.

“We have a lot of programming going on this summer that will give people the opportunity to become familiar with the arts or experience them first hand,” said Poe.

Over 100 veterans and their family members contributed to the pieces in the exhibit.

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