San Diego, CA— The California Arts Council announced it plans to award more than $34,000 to MCASD as part of its new Creative California Communities program. This award will support ArtOASIS, a new pilot project developed in partnership between MCASD and Combat Arts San Diego. ArtOASIS will promote the healing and reintegration of combat veterans with PTSD in our community by connecting them in an in-depth way to contemporary art and artists.
Projects supported by the Creative California Communities program represent a wide range of arts disciplines, and aim to revitalize neighborhoods through the arts, foster new arts engagement, stimulate tourism, create jobs for artists, invest in young people, and build relationships between local arts, business, and government entities.
MCASD and Combat Arts formed this program out of the shared belief that the arts can support the recovery of troops with PTSD. Exposure to art and art making helps individuals to find value and meaning in creative expression, expand social networks, and engage in purposeful activities to improve the overall quality of their lives, and by extension, of our communities. ArtOASIS will engage contemporary artists to serve 100 troops in military residential PTSD-treatment programs over the next year. These individuals will benefit from ongoing excursions to the Museum, specialized gallery tours, and hands-on art making with local artists. To raise awareness of the issue of combat trauma and the role of the arts in healing, the Museum will mount public exhibitions of veteran artwork, inviting the public, military personnel, and families to share in a moment of pride.
“The issue of returning troops with PTSD is one of great importance to me personally and to our region,” says Hugh M. Davies, Ph.D., The David C. Copley Director and CEO, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. “We developed ArtOASIS through ongoing conversations with military mental health experts and local artists to explore the ways in which the Museum galleries and gardens might become a site of healing for these often unseen members of the community. This project is one that makes me very proud and we look forward to learning from our military and Combat Arts partners.”
“As a practicing artist working with this population for many years, I’m so gratified that the California Arts Council has chosen our project for this tremendous support,” says Elizabeth Washburn, Lead Artist and Founder, Combat Arts San Diego. “These troops come to PTSD programs with so many talents hidden behind the walls of war trauma. Art is transformative and a catalyst for progress. I can’t wait for the public to see the beauty these vets have within.”
“The Creative California Communities program supports many significant projects in large and small communities across California, demonstrating the power of the arts to transform our state,” said Wylie Aitken, Chair of the California Arts Council. “Our Council was inspired by the overwhelming response to this program, which revealed the scope of unmet needs for the arts in our communities.”
The California Arts Council received 157 applications for this highly competitive grant program, which is supported by one-time funds from the California State Assembly. After an open application process, a peer advisory panel reviewed all grant applications, followed by a review and vote from the Council at a public meeting in Los Angeles on June 18, 2014. The twenty-four projects supported by this grant program will reach nineteen counties across California.
For a complete listing of projects supported by the Creative California Communities program, visit the California Arts Council website at www.arts.ca.gov.
MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART SAN DIEGO (MCASD)
Founded in 1941, the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) is the preeminent contemporary visual arts institution in San Diego County. The Museum's collection includes more than 4,500 works of art created since 1950. In addition to presenting exhibitions by international contemporary artists, the Museum serves thousands of children and adults annually at its varied education programs, and offers a rich program of film, performance, and lectures. MCASD is a private, nonprofit organization, with 501c3 tax-exempt status; it is supported by generous contributions and grants from MCASD Members and other individuals, corporations, foundations, and government agencies. Hugh M. Davies is The David C. Copley Director and CEO at MCASD.
Institutional support for MCASD is provided by the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture.
COMBAT ARTS SAN DIEGO
The mission of Combat Arts is to provide a supportive environment for veterans to engage in making art, creating an opportunity to express their personal thoughts and feelings about their war time experiences through the visual arts. The founding principal of this program is that the act of making art is inherently therapeutic. Without additional clinical therapy, through guided art projects, participants experience a reduction in anxiety, gain a sense of community, and create and sustain healthy avenues of expression for their thoughts, feelings, and experiences. Expression through art builds self-confidence and allows for the development of alternative cognitive pathways, providing additional coping skills for success in life after war.