Denver hosts National Veterans Creative Arts Festival for first time in nearly 20 years


US Department of Veterans Affairs


DENVER – From May 11-17, more than 130 artists—all veterans—will travel from across the nation to Denver to showcase their artistic talent during the 43rd annual National Veterans Creative Arts Festival.

The annual competition, which celebrates and showcases the healing power of creative arts therapies, returns to Denver for the first time since 2005. Veterans and spectators at the 43rd Creative Arts Festival will witness the progress and recovery that is possible through art therapy and celebrate the creative achievements of our nation’s veterans. “I never thought about creative arts being a mechanism for healing,” said 2024 Creative Arts Festival participant and U.S. Navy veteran Alma Kenney. “But once I tried it, I can no longer do without it. Creative arts gave my life more meaning.”

Across the nation, VA incorporates creative arts in its recreational therapy programs to further Veterans’ rehabilitation goals. The festival is hosted by VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System and co-sponsored by VA and the American Legion Auxiliary. “We are honored to be able to host these incredible Veteran artists,” said VA Eastern Colorado Health Care System’s Interim Director Amir Farooqi. “The Creative Arts Festival celebrates the power and healing that comes from artistic expression and community.”

Veterans participating in the Creative Arts Festival won their VA health care system’s competitions in art, creative writing, dance, drama and music. Throughout the week, Veterans will participate in workshops, rehearsals and wellness activities.  The week of events culminates with two events that are free and open to the public:

The Stage Show Performance, May 16, at 7 p.m. Newman Center for the Performing Arts (June Swaner Gates Concert Hall), University of Denver, 2344 East Iliff Ave., Denver, CO, 80208. Reserve free tickets for Thursday’s performances by visiting NVCAF.

On May 17, from 4-6 p.m., the public is invited to the Art and Writing Exhibition, Stanley Marketplace (2501 Dallas St, Aurora). This event does not require registration.

For more information or to request interviews, contact (720) 215-6458 or VA ECHCS will be sending six Eastern Colorado veterans to the event from Littleton, Northglenn, Aurora, and Denver. B-roll, photography and interview opportunities with Veteran artists and VA recreational therapists are available throughout the week.




Filed Under: FeaturedMedia ReleaseThe ArtsVAVeterans Issues


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