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The Arts: A Promising Solution to Meeting the Challenges of Today’s Military

Marete Wester

Marete Wester

On November 15, 2012, a group of concerned and dedicated military, government, private sector, and nonprofit leaders gathered at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC for the Arts & Health in the Military National Roundtable.

The Roundtable represented the second step in the ongoing development of the multi-year National Initiative for Arts & Health in the Military, a collaborative effort to advance the arts in health, healing, and healthcare for military service members, veterans, their families, and caregivers.

Launched in January 2012, the National Initiative is co-lead by Americans for the Arts and Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in partnership with a national steering committee comprised of military, federal agency, nonprofit, and private sector partners.

The Roundtable was charged with advancing the mission of National Initiative by recommending a framework for a “blueprint for action”—one that will ensure the availability of arts interventions for our service men and women and their families, and integrate the arts as part of the “Standard of Care” in military clinical (VA and military hospitals) as well as programs in community settings across the country. 

The Arts: A Promising Solution to Meeting the Challenges of Today’s Military—A Summary Report and Blueprint for Action was officially released at the 2nd National Summit: Arts, Health and Well-Being Across the Military Continuum hosted by the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on April 10, 2013.

The intent of the Blueprint is to open the door for a national conversation and the development of a National Action Plan. More than 200 leaders from the military and arts community were engaged on-site at the Summit, in sessions designed to solicit their suggestions for moving forward.

We invite you to read the report and join the conversation. Help us define what actions and strategies will be necessary—and that we can take together—to expand the use of the arts across the military continuum, and on behalf of service men and women, their families and caregivers.

The results of the discussions and public comments will be summarized and included as part of the findings of the National Initiative for Arts & Health in the Military White Paper and National Action Plan, to be released in 2013.

Stay tuned to ARTSblog for more information on this important initiative going forward.

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