By Aidan Connaughton
With over 40,000 military personnel, it’s no wonder Colorado Springs has a strong culture of support for men and women in uniform. However, for many brave soldiers who have returned from service, especially those struggling with trauma, PTSD, and other mental health issues as a result of their deployment, they sometimes need additional support. The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center has shown its commitment to the cause of military reintegration and healing through their Military Artistic Healing Program offered through the FAC’s Bemis School of Art.
Designed to help active duty and veterans as well as their families find creative outlets for stress and trauma resulting from deployment, the Military Artistic Healing Program has supported numerous participants as they navigate their way through the process of dealing with these traumatic issues. According to the FAC’s Bemis School of Art, giving an individual a way of expressing themselves creatively can increase their sense of self and help them work through difficult feelings. With award-winning and widely-acclaimed courses, the program has been extremely successful since its inception in 2007.
Veteran Tommy Darbe is one individual who received support through the Military Artistic Healing Program. Before taking the Military Artistic Healing workshop, he struggled with suicidal thoughts. After signing up for the program, he found a new passion and a new hope for life. Now an exhibiting and commissioned artist, Darbe is able to begin the process of healing the psychological wounds left by his deployment.
Through the life-changing power of art, The FAC has once again shown its commitment to supporting veterans with the Military Artistic Healing Program in addition to its various military discounts. While broad community support of veterans is certainly vital to their transition home, creative structural and programmatic support like this has the power to improve veterans’ lives as well as to provide them a new assignment: healing.