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VA Festival lets
Veterans showcase creativity... National
Veterans Creative Arts Festival starts Oct.
22 in St. Louis
WASHINGTON (Oct. 17,
2007) - Some of the country's most talented
veteran artists and performers will put
their creative achievements on display at
the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival
in St. Louis. From October 22-28, more than
120 veterans, all selected as national
winners in music, dance, drama or art
contests, will display their talents,
techniques and creative abilities.
highlights the creative accomplishments of
veterans," said Acting Secretary of Veterans
Affairs Gordon H. Mansfield. "By their
talents and determination, these veterans
prove there is no bar to creativity.
Open to all veterans receiving care at a
medical facility of the
Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), the
National Veterans Creative Arts Festival is
presented by VA, the American Legion
Auxiliary (ALA) and Help Hospitalized
The culmination of a
year-long fine arts talent competition
involving nearly 3,000 participants
nationwide, the festival is hosted this year
by the St. Louis VA Medical Center.
More than 40 artists and 80 performers will
gather in St. Louis for a week of rehearsals
and workshops, concluding on Sunday, October
28 with a visual art exhibit and gala
variety stage show at the Touhill Performing
Arts Center on the University of Missouri -
St. Louis campus.
Two veterans from Operation Iraqi Freedom
will be in attendance, as well as two World
War II veterans and 28 who served in
"Participating in the National Veterans
Creative Arts Festival makes me happy," said
Chris Mandia, a 35-year-old Operation Iraqi
Freedom veteran from San Pedro, Calif. "Art
has made my life more complete and, in turn,
has acted as a form of therapy."
Mandia was among 2,839 veterans who took
part in locally-based creative festivals
this year at nearly 100 VA facilities.
Every year, veterans treated at VA medical
centers across the United States compete in
local creative arts contests in 50 art
categories that range from oil painting to
leatherwork to paint-by-number kits.
In addition, there are
120 categories pertaining to all aspects of
music, dance, drama and creative writing.
The artists will exhibit their work from
12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. on
October 28 at the Touhill Performing Arts
Center. At 2:00 p.m.,
performers in music, drama and dance will
showcase their talents in a stage show,
backed by a professional orchestra.
Renowned actress of
Hollywood's golden era, Jane Powell, is the
mistress of ceremonies for the show. Her
husband Dick Moore, also a well known actor,
and Bo Derek, National Honorary Chairperson
for VA's Rehabilitation Special Events, are
also expected to attend.
Executive Director of Help Hospitalized
Veterans Mike Lynch and American Legion
Auxiliary President Jan Pulvermacher-Ryan
will also be in attendance.