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March 15, 2021


We are pleased to announce the Veterans Arts Residency Resource Guide. The guide reports on lessons learned and successes from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) and Department of Military and Veterans Affairs (DMVA) pilot projects. The guide includes sample lesson plans, providing context for meeting the needs of the veteran population. We found that working with veterans does require a particular sensitivity and attention to issues unique to this population.  It is PAEP’s hope that this publication will provide guidance for working with the veteran population as well as encourage other organizations and teaching artists to share their talents with those who have served our country.

In 2018, The PCA Arts in Education (AIE) Division in partnership with the DMVA, enlisted its regional Partners to work with the TimeSlips, Inc., program that focuses on examining attitudes towards aging and dementia through storytelling. Five of the PCA-AIE Partners[1] and teaching artists were asked to conduct 20-day visual and performing arts residencies at six Veterans Homes/Centers.[2] During these residencies, the teaching artists learned about the particular needs of the veterans’ populations and the different infrastructures of each Veteran’s Home/Center.

Following this successful pilot project, and recognizing the benefits of engaging with the arts for this population, several Partners continue to work in the veterans’ homes/centers, delivering arts residencies focused on a variety of art forms. Throughout both the Timeslips program and ensuing arts residency work, the five AIE Partners found that they had all met with similar, specific challenges and successes working with the veteran population. Perhaps most importantly, they want to share their insights in hopes of encouraging others to pursue this valuable work with the veterans’ population.

We would like to thank the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs, as well as the four other PCA AIE Partners who were afforded the opportunity to create arts residencies for veterans in homes/centers across Pennsylvania. This guide was funded through the Creative Catalyst Grant program, a Pennsylvania Council on the Arts grant program.

[1] Arts in Education Northeast Pennsylvania (NEIU19), Erie Arts and Culture, Philadelphia Arts in Education Partnership (PAEP), Pittsburgh Center for Arts and Media, and Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art

[2] Delaware Valley Veterans Home, Gino J. Merli Veterans’ Center, Hollidaysburg Veterans’ Home, Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Home, Southeastern Veterans’ Center and Southwestern Veterans’ Center