As part of our on-going collaborative work with The Carpetbag Theatre, Inc. on Creative Arts Reintegration (CAR), Art2Action has developed a robust Veteran Arts Program in Tampa, FL. We began in 2013, supporting the development of SPEED KILLED MY COUSIN, a play by Linda Parris-Bailey (see below). Since then, we have offered weekly performing arts workshops at the Psychosocial Rehabilitation & Recovery Center (PRRC) of the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital. We also host a monthly Veterans Community Open Mic, featuring local and national guest artists presented by Art2Action. In Spring 2017, we co-hosted the 4th National Summit on Arts & Health in the Military with Americans for the Arts at the University of South Florida, including the first national festival of performances by, for, about and with veterans; learn more by visiting our R&R Arts Festival page.
In Fall 2017, we’re expanding our offerings for veterans by adding a *NEW* series of Creative Arts Workshops for Veterans @ USF! Weekly workshops will be open to Student Veterans and Service Members, as well as Veterans in the Tampa Bay community. Workshops will include theatre, creative writing, movement, visual arts, digital storytelling and more — facilitated by local and national guest artists, offering opportunities for creative self-expression and arts-based community building.
The Veteran Arts Workshop series will kick-off on Saturday, August 26, with a special Songwriting workshop by Iraq war veteran Micheal Trotter Jr. of The War & Treaty. On-going workshops will take place every Friday, September 1 through December 1, 2017, at the USF Marshall Student Center. Those interested may also choose to participate in a Pilot Study on the impact of the arts for the veteran community, designed in partnership with the USF Psychology Department, and the Center of Innovation on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (CINDRR). We need YOU to help examine what role the arts can play for veterans!
Art2Action’s programs for the veteran community are made possible by the generous support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs, and our fantastic partners. This page includes more information on our work with veterans in Tampa, and offers lots of resources for learning … Please explore!
For the WEDU Arts Plus (PBS) special feature on the Veterans Community Open Mic, click here!
Engaging Military Veterans in Your Community Through the Arts: Andrea Assaf, Linda Parris-Bailey (CBT), and Rachel Brink (VA-PRRC) presented an in-depth case study on our collaborative work, at the 2014 Americans for the Arts National Convention:
Art in Action at Veterans Open Mic Night — WUSF radio features the Veterans Community Open Mic as part of their “Veterans Coming Home” Series, featuring interviews with Veterans and Peer Leaders, hosted by Andrea Assaf & Linda Parris-Bailey.
INTERVIEW: “An Iraq War Opera Finds A Vein of Empathy” with Iraqi American playwright Heather Raffo & former U.S. Marine Christian Ellis. Art2Action is very proud to have supported the development of this amazing work, as part of THIS Bridge: Arab, Middle Eastern & Muslim Artists Series, in March 2015.
Spotlighting Vets in Tampa with Andrea Assaf on Wise Woman Media (August 16, 2013). Interview begins at 10:18.
AMAZING AUDIO RECORDINGS BY VETERANS:
“Angel” — A collaborative improvisation with Art2Action artist Aida Shahghasemi (vocalist) and former U.S. Marine/Gulf War veteran Clifton Williams III (poet), recorded during a workshop at the Tampa Veterans Recovery Center, as part of THIS Bridge: Arab, Middle Eastern & Muslim Artists Series, September 2014.
“WAR” by Marc ‘SoManyStylz’ Reid. Art2Action is pleased to present this special recording, featuring Iraq War veteran Marc Reid & Art2Action’s Artistic Director, Andrea Assaf, with original beat & sound engineering by DJ Cotton. Poem originally published in Dissonant Harmonics of a War-Torn Mind, by Marc Reid.
Speed the CAR: Creative Arts Reintegration by Linda Parris-Bailey & Andrea Assaf
Moral Injury Killed My Cousin by VA therapist, Dr. Lynne A. Santiago, LMHC
Opening New Doors: Reflections On Art and Recovery by Veteran Peer Leader, Cheldyn Donovan
OUR PARTNERSHIP WITH THE CARPETBAG THEATRE, INC.:
By Linda Parris-Bailey
Directed by Andrea Assaf
Media Design by Melody Reeves
Original Music by Kelle Jolly, John Puckett, and Bert Tanner
Performed by the Carpetbag Theatre ensemble, featuring: Andresia “Real” Moseley, Bert Tanner, Linda Parris-Bailey, & Carlton “Starr” Releford
BACKGROUND: In 2012, Linda Parris-Bailey invited Andrea Assaf (Art2Action’s Artistic Director) to direct her new play, Speed Killed My Cousin – about an African American woman soldier who returns from Iraq with PTSD, and battles impulses to commit suicide, resulting from Moral Injury. As part of the development process, The Carpetbag Theatre and Art2Action received a “Partners in Action” grant from Alternate ROOTS. In October 2013, Art2Action and the University of South Florida (USF) School of Theatre and Dance offered an Open Rehearsal of Speed. CBT Residency activities included class visits for students, sponsored by Associate Professor Fanni Green, as well as Digital Storytelling workshops with the veterans at the PRRC. Click here for USF’s Overview of the 2013 Carpetbag Theatre Residency. Also see: “True American Struggle Has Many Faces: Carpetbag Theatre & Art2Action’s USF Residency Wrap-Up” by USF Theatre graduate & active duty service member, Carmin Williams.
DIGITAL STORIES by Veterans!
With The Carpetbag Theatre, U.S. military veteran Yvette Sojourner created the following Digital Story about her experience with MST and PTSD: “TOSKA” by Yvette Sojourner
She writes, “This is a glimpse of my life. This story, my story, is one of struggle, heartache and pain but it is also one of perseverance, survival and strength.” Over a year after creating the Digital Story with CBT, Sojourner shared this testimony of how the process helped her: “I didn’t realize until my VA counselor pointed it out. CHANGE began for me the day I was introduced to you all in class and entered that Story Circle! Everything has changed. I’m working on my dissertation, traveling, my look has changed, I’m out and socializing. You all changed my life!!! Before I thought I could do it. Now I KNOW I can.”
Check out Yvette Sojourner’s newest Digital Story: “FELON”
Click here for more information about Speed Killed My Cousin & The Carpetbag Theatre!