Art Workshops for Veterans in Jail

by New Century Art Guild

NE

Art has the ability to tell stories and to express deep emotions; it has the ability to relax the mind and encourage creative problem-solving. It is a force perfectly suited to helping veterans in their readjustment to civilian life, especially those challenge facing legal problems and even serving jail time. New Century Art Guild is a non-profit arts organization co-founded by veterans and artists that was established to transform veterans’ lives through the power of art. Our organization offers valuable resources to vets just looking for a little relaxation, to those seeking a new career in the arts. We have the combined experience and resources to assist veterans making the transition into the mindset, or career, that they want.

New Century Art Guild was invited by the Douglas County Department of Corrections to conduct biweekly creativity workshops for US Military Veteran inmates serving jail time in the newly created Veteran Housing Unit. This unit is the first of its kind in Nebraska and one of only a few nationwide. Inmates in this unit could be there for a few days or for several months; serving sentences for misdemeanor crimes or awaiting trial on felony charges. Many vets are incarcerated as a result of difficulties coping with PTSD and problems reintegrating into the civilian population.

In these creative workshops, participants will use a different artistic media each session to raise morale in the housing unit. Topics will include visual art, writing, and music. All experience levels are welcome and no previous experience is required! Veterans will have an opportunity to unburden mental strain in the form of self-expressed artwork created in an environment that promotes healing and relaxation.

Clinical studies indicate that the creative process of making art, music and writing have tremendous potential for positive cognitive involvement, thus reducing the symptoms of PTSD and anxiety that is exacerbated by confinement . The free-exercise of creativity in these workshops boosts self-awareness, promotes stress-reduction and social bonding.

You can help our mission to share the expressive and healing powers of artmaking with incarcerated veterans by contributing to our Hatchfund campaign at one of our recommended donation levels. Your funding will go toward a pilot program of 12 workshops, covering instructor and assistant fees, art materials, admin and transportation costs. Check out our website at www.newcenturyartguild.org to find out more about our outreach into the veteran and artistic communities. We hope that you’ll take a continued interest in New Century Art Guild’s mission to transform lives of veterans and military families through the power of art.