Historic Healing Arts and Military Partnership Expands to N.C.

Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network Launches New Sites and Programs

Bethesda, MD (October 25, 2016)— The Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, N.C. is one of five new clinical sites for expansion of the Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network, a partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and the Department of Defense (DoD).

The Creative Forces program started in 2011 to support creative arts therapies for service members with traumatic brain injury and associated psychological health issues

“At the National Endowment for the Arts, we understand the healing power of the arts, and are honored to work with the Department of Defense on this transformative program,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu.

Research on the impact and benefits of these innovative treatment methods will also be conducted as part of Creative Forces.

“Patients who participate in creative arts therapy acknowledge improvement in sleep, memory, pain, cognitive function, and their ability to confront emotional challenges. It is a privilege to be part of a program that benefits the brave men and women who so proudly serve our country, as well as the caregivers and families who support them,” Chu said.

American troops dedicate their lives and make incredible sacrifices to preserve our safety and freedom. Supporting a successful transition back into society, especially for those who have been injured as a result of their service, has been the focus of a partnership between the NEA and the Department of Defense.

“It’s an honor to be a part of this wonderful project,” said Secretary Susan Kluttz of the N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. “Arts not only bring a higher quality of life, spark economic development and create jobs. Arts also heal and this is a great example of that power.”

"The men and women serving in our military make sacrifices every day for our country," said Wayne Martin, Executive Director of the North Carolina Arts Council. "It is a privilege for the North Carolina Arts Council to collaborate with Camp Lejeune, the Marine Corps, and the National Endowment for the Arts to create and support arts programs that serve the needs of our armed forces, veterans and their families."

In fiscal year 2016, Congress authorized a $1.98 million budget increase for the NEA, specifically allocated to expand this military healing arts program. Creative Forces extends creative arts therapies to ten additional locations by 2017. The NEA is providing funding for creative arts therapists, including, but not limited to, art and music therapists, creative writing instructors, as well as program support at these locations.

“Placing creative arts therapies at the center of an integrated multidisciplinary team confronting the ‘invisible wounds’ brought on by traumatic brain injuries and associated psychological health conditions has actually helped provide visibility to some of these injuries, resulting in improved communication and accelerated healing incorporating the entire treatment team,” said U.S. Navy Capt. Walt Greenhalgh, director for the NICoE. “We are delighted to be working with the National Endowment for the Arts to help bring these benefits to bear for more military populations at military and veteran treatment facilities across the nationally expanding Creative Forces network.”

Creative Forces: Community Programs

The NEA is working closely with its network of state, local, and regional arts agencies and nonprofit partners at each clinical site location to develop community-based arts programs that allow patients to continue exploring art practices as part of their healing process. In addition to military service members, these programs will be available for veterans, families, and caregivers to access arts programming.

Creative Forces: Capacity-building and Research

The NEA is creating an online toolkit and resources to help communities understand how to support service members, veterans, and their families through arts programming. This includes guidance on how to build deeper connections across civilian and military populations.

The NEA is also investing in research on the impacts – biological, psycho-social, behavioral, and economic – of these arts-based interventions. This includes a partnership with the Creative Arts Therapies PhD program at Drexel University in Philadelphia. Together, the NEA, Drexel, and the NICoE are supporting research on themes communicated through mask making from active duty service members with post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury. As part of this project, a case study examining long term art therapy with a senior military service member with PTSD and TBI is available here. 

About the National Endowment for the Arts

Established by Congress in 1965, the NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities. Through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector, the NEA supports arts learning, affirms and celebrates America’s rich and diverse cultural heritage, and extends its work to promote equal access to the arts in every community across America. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Arts and the agency is celebrating this milestone with events and activities through 2016. Go to arts.gov/50th to enjoy art stories from around the nation, peruse Facts & Figures, and check out the anniversary timeline.

About The North Carolina Arts Council

North Carolina has long been recognized for rich traditions in crafts, literature, historical drama, and music. Since 1964, the N.C. Arts Council has worked to strengthen North Carolina’s creativity, invention, and prosperity through its four core functions: creating a strong and efficient arts infrastructure across North Carolina; planning and implementing economic development initiatives; educating our young people; and researching the impact of the arts on our state. NCArts.org.

About the North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources

The N.C. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources (NCDNCR) is the state agency with a vision to be the leader in using the state's natural and cultural resources to build the social, cultural, educational and economic future of North Carolina. Led by Secretary Susan Kluttz, NCDNCR's mission is to improve the quality of life in our state by creating opportunities to experience excellence in the arts, history, libraries and nature in North Carolina by stimulating learning, inspiring creativity, preserving the state's history, conserving the state's natural heritage, encouraging recreation and cultural tourism, and promoting economic development.

NCDNCR includes 27 historic sites, seven history museums, two art museums, two science museums, three aquariums and Jennette's Pier, 39 state parks and recreation areas, the N.C. Zoo, the nation's first state-supported Symphony Orchestra, the State Library, the State Archives, the N.C. Arts Council, State Preservation Office and the Office of State Archaeology, along with the Division of Land and Water Stewardship. For more information, please call (919) 807-7300 or visit www.ncdcr.gov