The Veterans and the Arts Initiative has become an increasingly important influencer in the field of arts and health through its partnerships and research. The program is committed to studying the impact of our community arts programming on military-connected community members and conducts IRB-approved research. Our researchers share findings at national and international conferences and through peer-reviewed publications.
Funded by the National Endowment for the Arts in 2019, the program was an important collaborator with George Mason University’s College of Education and Human Development’s SMART Lab and the College of Health and Human Services in completing research about the effects of arts engagement in older adults.
George Mason University received the honor of hosting the 2019 Creative Forces® Convening, which focused on community-based arts programs that serve military-connected communities across the country.
The program offered on-site and virtual Ukulele Workshop Series to support Creative Forces®: NEA Military Healing Arts Network’s Community Connections Projects, including research on the impact of the workshops (2019 - 2020).
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the program offered virtual programming for military families and created a Tele-Arts Engagement Guide in support of Creative Forces®: NEA Military Healing Arts Network (2021).
The Initiative is engaged in longitudinal ethnographic study of intergenerational workshops, including quantitative and qualitative data collection, to understand the impact of community arts programming.
The Initiative and its staff collaborate with national-level multidisciplinary panels to present research findings at venues including Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD and University of Alberta in Canada, and at meetings including Gerontological Society of America’s Annual Scientific Meeting and Virginia Commission for the Arts’s ArtWorks for Virginia Conference.