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Public Invited to Veterans Creative Arts Competition at Milwaukee VA

The community is invited to a free veteran visual arts show, Monday, Feb. 27, and a performing arts stage show, Thursday, March 2, at the Milwaukee VA Medical Center. 

The events are free and the first step toward the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival, held later this year in Buffalo, New York.

Both events take place on third-floor Recreation Hall at the medical center, 5000 W. National Avenue. The art show takes place 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday. Private judging will begin at 9 a.m.

Veterans will compete in more than 50 categories, including oil painting, leatherwork, metalwork, ceramics and more. 
Stage show performers will be divided into two shows at 2 and 6:30 p.m. March 2.

Categories include music, dance, drama, poetry and creative writing. 

"Generally, when they have that complete piece they can take a look at that," explained art therapist  Marrisa Straub. "That's a statement about what's going on with them. It can give them a lot of information on what's going on with them and problem solving. It also gives them a chance to connect with other veterans who are going through similar things in that same setting."

Local, first-place winners go forward to national competition, and 120 of the top winners are selected for the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival, Oct. 23 to 29 in Buffalo.

The festival includes a week of breakout workshops, public art showing, and a grand finale, two-hour variety stage show.

Although competition is open to all enrolled veterans, many participate as part of their therapy and to help cope and recover from post-traumatic stress, trauma and other physical and emotional disabilities. 

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