Veterans Medical Center hosts annual arts festival

RBC — Artwork by veterans enrolled as patients at the Grand Junction Veterans Affairs Hospital will be on public display Feb. 19, 1 p.m. – 4 p.m in the medical center’s building 6 and Feb. 20-21, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. during the medical center’s annual arts festival.
“We estimate that more than 40 pieces of art, from five divisions will be exhibited this year,î said Donna DiGiacinto, event organizer.
Each division also has subdivisions to ensure each submission is judged on its own merits, she added. For example, the arts division includes fine arts such as painting, sculpture, photography and drawings while applied arts includes needlework, woodcarving and ceramics.
There is also a category for craft kits to include poster art, string art and fabric art, to name a few, DiGiacinto said.
The competition provides veterans receiving treatment at VA facilities the opportunity to participate in creative self-expression in several art forms, to include creative writing, dance, drama and music as a part of their therapy and to gain recognition for these artistic accomplishments.
The entries will be judged by local professional artists Feb. 18 to determine first through third place winners in each category.
First place winners will advance to the national level where they will compete with entries from other VA facilities around the country. Those who win at the national level will be invited to attend the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival, Oct. 20-27, at the Loma Linda VA Medical Center in Riverside, Calif.
The trip for local winners to the national festival will be funded in part by proceeds from a silent auction of art and craft objects donated by local artisans, craftsmen and businesses.
The silent action will be held Feb. 21-22 in the second floor lobby of the medical center where the donated items will be on display.
For details on the festival, contact DiGiancinto at (970) 242-0731, ext 2503; e-mail Donn.DiGiacinto@va.gov or Matt Lucas at (970) 242-0731, ext 2411; e-mail matt.lucas@med.va.gov. Information is also available at www.creativeartsfestival.va.gov.
Paul Sweeney is the chief customer relations and public affairs officer for the Grand Junction VA Medical Center.