OLYMPIA, WA – The Washington State Arts Commission (ArtsWA) and the Washington Department of Veteran Affairs (WDVA) gathered on January 18 to celebrate a new partnership—together, the two agencies will distribute $250,000 in grants for arts-based programming at the four state veteran homes and the transitional housing program.
U.S. Marine Corps Veteran Bryan Bales, who manages ArtsWA’s Wellness, Arts and the Military (WAM) program, sees the partnership as a critical step for Washington’s Veteran community.
“I consider it an honor and a privilege for the wellness, arts, and the military program at ArtsWA to partner with the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs,” said Bales. “We’re passionate about improving quality of life through the arts, and I cannot wait to see the impact that this funding will have on the residents.”
ArtsWA Executive Director Karen Hanan agreed, noting that “the arts are unparalleled in their capacity to foster healing and self-discovery.”
“Whether the wound be of the body or the mind, creative expression is a critical component of recovery,” said Hanan. “We are proud to partner with WDVA to bring healing and community to those who have served.”
Grant funds will provide veterans new opportunities to participate in arts programs.
“The past three years has been especially challenging for veterans and families in our state veterans homes and transitional housing program. COVID related precautions severely limited our ability to offer in-person programming such as painting, live music from community groups or attending local theater events,” said David Puente, director of the Washington Department of Veterans Affairs. “Funding from the ArtsWA Grant will allow our veterans and families to connect with the arts and we know this will have a positive impact on their quality of life. We are extremely grateful for this partnership with the Washington Arts Commission and look forward to sharing stories of its impact.”