The “Veterans’ Voices of San Benito County” project, funded by a new grant from the California Arts Council, represents a new partnership between the San Benito County Arts Council and the American Legion and VFW. This project will be the first of its kind in San Benito County. Traditionally, the American Legion and VFW have focused their efforts on meeting the basic needs of veterans by providing housing, transportation, healthcare and other health and human services. However, as older veterans find themselves increasingly isolated socially and younger veterans, returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, struggle with reintegration and social and psychological struggles, such as PTSD, the veterans assistance agencies have recognized the benefit of collaborative, community-based projects and activities that unite veterans, give them an opportunity for self-expression, teach them new skills and provide them with a platform to communicate with the broader public.
“Veterans’ Voices” will engage veteran participants in a 2-part creative project including 1) planning, designing and creating a collaborative mural based on local veterans’ experiences to be prominently displayed on the Veterans Memorial Building and 2) developing short films which both document the process of the mural, and creatively share the digital stories of the collaborating veterans in collaboration with Community Media Access Partnership. The public will be invited to a final film screening and public celebration of the mural in Spring 2017.
We are set the launch this project in Fall 2016. Check back for updates!