National Endowment for the Arts Announces Creative Forces Grantees

by Jessica Fuentes June 7, 2024

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA) have announced the 41 recipients of the Creative Forces Grants, including two Texas-based organizations. 

Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network is a partnership between NEA and the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. It seeks to support military members, veterans, and their families and caregivers through projects that use the arts to improve health and quality of life.

In a press release, Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD, Chair of the NEA, commented, “Creative Forces projects provide important opportunities for military-connected individuals and communities to improve resilience and well-being through arts engagement. Arts and culture are essential to healing, creating connections, and developing healthy communities where all people can realize their full potential.”

Todd Stein, President and CEO of M-AAA, added, “With these newest Creative Forces projects, we will continue to see how engaging with art creates a path for emotional expression and provides a sense of community and connection, making it a vital component of holistic health care. We’re honored to partner with the National Endowment for the Arts to bring these opportunities to new military-connected communities across the country.”

A total of more than $769,000 has been awarded to the grantees, which represent 25 states and Washington, D.C. Each project that has been awarded a grant is coordinated by two or more partnering organizations or artists. The Texas recipients are Art Spark Texas, an Austin-based arts organization that aims to foster equity in the arts for people with diverse abilities, and Killeen Creators, a community service organization that addresses food insecurity, post-traumatic stress disorder, and disenfranchisement. 

Learn more about the Texas projects below, via descriptions provided by the NEA, and see the full list of grant-funded projects via the Creative Forces website

A collection of images that represent programming by Art Spark Texas.

Art Spark Texas

Art Spark Texas
Texas Veterans Strong – $25,000

Art Spark Texas, in partnership with Austin VA Outpatient Clinic, will present Texas Veterans Strong, three in-person expressive arts courses for veterans. Building upon the knowledge, passion, and wisdom of the “band of brothers and sisters,” the expressive arts courses will strengthen and support veterans on their reintegration journey. The project will host six one-day regional workshops for veterans, their families, and/or women veterans. These in-person or virtual workshops will include meditation, nature walks, creative writing, and arts skills-building. The workshops will seek to develop a better understanding of what creativity is and how creative expression supports wellness, for women veterans to feel more resilient and empowered, and for more veterans to participate in community arts opportunities within the Texas Veteran network.

Side-by-side photographs of projects by Killeen Creators, including a community garden, a painting, and a voting sticker.

Killeen Creators

Killeen Creators
Operation ART Recovery – $25,000

Operation ART of Recovery is a collaborative project between Killeen Creators, Operation Phantom Support, the Art & More Store, the CARES Center, Soldiers In Recovery, and Military Life & Counseling Program, offering artistic and green therapies for active-duty service members, veterans, and military family members. Through this project, Killeen Creators’ trained veteran Peer Support Specialists will lead Garden Gathering & Art Days, Art Classes, and Therapeutic Art Journaling to participants twice weekly to provide emotional outlets, engaging past-times, fresh air, physical activity, peer support, hope for recovery, community connections, and, ultimately, improved quality of life.

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