Veterans in Tampa

Vets Open Mic-Andrea, Cotton And YOU!

Veterans Community Open Mic

Join us the 1st Sunday of every month for the Veterans Community Open Mic, 6:30-9pm, Tre Amici @ The Bunker in Ybor City (Tampa)!

Wanna hear how we got started? For the WEDU Arts Plus (PBS) special feature on the Veterans Community Open Mic, click here!

Veteran Arts Workshops

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.


This page includes more information on our work with veterans in Tampa, and offers lots of resources for learning … Please explore! 

CHRYSALIS Postcard 2

CHRYSALIS: A play about Veterans, Breaking Through, and the Process of Becoming More Human was created in FALL 2017 through a series of Creative Arts Workshops for Veterans at the VA Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center (PRRC) and the University of South Florida (USF).  Weekly workshops were open to Student Veterans and Service Members, as well as Veterans in the Tampa Bay community. Workshops included 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.  Those interested also participated 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).

KAL Promo image with dates

War & Treaty Aug 2017 concert

WATCH:  Check out our *new* VIMEO Channel on Veteran Arts!

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. 


“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

Art2Action’s programs for the veteran community are made possible by the generous support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and is sponsored in part by the Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, the Florida Council of Arts and Culture and the State of Florida and the National Endowment for the Arts  (Section 286.25, Florida Statutes); and our fantastic partners!

Creative Forces Open Mic with logos


CBT Digital Storytelling



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.


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!


6 comments on “Veterans in Tampa

  1. […] Read more about “Creative Arts Reintegration” with The Carpetbag Theatre, the PRRC “Voices of Recovery” Veterans Drama Troupe, and Art2Action @ https://art2action.org/veterans-in-tampa […]

  2. […] WUSF <em>Veterans Coming Home</em> project partnered with <a href=”https://art2action.org/veterans-in-tampa/”>Art-2-Action Tampa Veterans</a> to bring you this evening of poetry and music with military […]

  3. I love Tampa! I just heard about the conference and I will be there with bells on. How do I sign up for the open mic, don’t want to miss a chance to share with your community. I am the director of Veterans Initiatives @ The Institute for Integrative Health, my program is called Vet Arts Connect – connecting veterans with active arts and nature programs. My Vet Connect website is under construction so there are no veterans issues on my Institutes website yet, but coming soon.

  4. I’m very interested in getting involved. I’m a 33yo f disabled veteran (close to the Tampa va) looking to re-ignite my artistic side and help myself heal. Thank you

    • Hello, Holly! Thank you for reaching out. We would love to have you come join us at the Veterans Community Open Mic. It’s a great place to explore your creative side and build community! The next one will be January 5th, and the first Sunday of every month, 6:30-9pm at The Bunker Cafe in Ybor City (Tampa). At the moment, this is our only active veterans program. We hope you can come and check it out! Happy Holidays, Andrea

Leave a Reply to Press Release: R&R Arts Festival | Art2Action Inc. Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: