Arts and Military Summit Comes to San Diego on December 7th

SAN DIEGO – Helping military personnel heal from the complex wounds of our recent wars is a national priority that arts and military leaders in California are embracing. On December 7th in San Diego, the California Arts Council will host an arts and military summit as part of their participation in Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network. Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, one of 11 clinical sites in Creative Forces, is participating in the event at Arts District Liberty Station in San Diego.

Creative Forces is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in partnership with the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, plus state and local arts agencies. The network places creative arts therapies at the core of patient-centered care at 11 military medical facilities across the country, as well as a telehealth program to reach patients in rural and remote areas, and increases access to therapeutic arts activities for military personnel, veterans, and their families in local communities. Americans for the Arts is working with the NEA to provide administrative support for Creative Forces.

With more than half a million members of the armed services living with traumatic brain injury or PTSD, arts therapy integration plays a role in recovery beyond what traditional medical can achieve. In a survey at the National Intrepid Center of Excellence Walter Reed Bethesda, 85 percent of military patients consider art therapy helpful to their healing, consistently rating it as one of the top four of more than 40 treatment options.

The Creative Forces Summit will feature presentations, discussions, and networking in order to foster collaboration between arts, community, and military representatives in supporting military and veteran families. Two local arts organizations dedicated to working with military and veteran families, So Say We All and The PGK Dance Project, will stage performances for summit attendees. Local arts organization VetArt serves as a summit sponsor. View the summit agenda here.

This event offers opportunities to speak with national and state military, arts, and health professionals engaged in this important work. These professionals can speak about Creative Forces, creative arts therapies and how these practices are making a difference in the lives of military patients, and how California and the Camp Pendleton and the greater San Diego community are helping to lead the charge.

“The arts’ impact on health and their profound capacity to heal and affect trauma is empirical,” said Ayanna Kiburi, Interim Director of California Arts Council. “This summit invites collaboration and innovation from experts in their respective fields to unleash that power, and tune in to the needs of our service men and women, veterans, their families and caregivers in the San Diego region affected by the wounds of conflict.”

WHAT: Creative Forces Arts and Military Summit
WHEN: 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
WHERE: Liberty Station
               McMillin Companies Event Center Main Hall
               2875 Dewey Road, San Diego, CA, 92106
Nolen V. Bivens, Brigadier General, U.S. Army (Retired)
Keith Boylan, Deputy Secretary, Veterans Services Division, California Department of Veterans Affairs
Scott Chadwick, Chief Operating Officer, City of San Diego
Karen Ann Daniels, Arts Engagement Programs Manager, The Old Globe
Shya Ellis-Flint, Program Manager, Vets Community Connection
Donn K. Harris, Chair, California Arts Council
Mark Jesinoski, Ph.D., Artist and Program Director, VetArt
Sara Kass, M.D., Captain, U.S. Navy (Retired), Military and Medical Advisor, Creative Forces
Ayanna Kiburi, MPH, Interim Director, California Arts Council
Heidi Squier Kraft, Ph.D., Clinical Director, PsychArmor
Bill O’Brien, Senior Innovation Advisor, National Endowment for the Arts
The PGK Dance Project
Wil Quintong, Director, Office of Military & Veteran Affairs, County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency
So Say We All
Rebecca Vaudreuil, Music Therapist, Creative Forces
Elizabeth Washburn, Founder, Combat Arts

If you are interested in attending and speaking with any of the participants, please contact Kimberly Brown at the above email or phone number.

San Diego Region Creative Forces Planning Task Force Members include: Steve Dilley, Veterans Art Project; Ray Flores, San Diego Veterans Coalition; Sheldon Margolis, Veterans Museum at Balboa Park; Barbara Reuer, Resounding Joy Inc.; Whitney Roux, City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture; Rebecca Vaudreuil, Creative Forces/Camp Pendleton; and Elizabeth Washburn, Combat Arts San Diego.

#  #  #

The mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the arts and creativity. The Council is committed to building public will and resources for the arts; fostering accessible arts initiatives that reflect contributions from all of California’s diverse populations; serving as a thought leader and champion for the arts; and providing effective and relevant programs and services.

Members of the California Arts Council include: Chair Donn K. Harris, Vice Chair Nashormeh Lindo, Larry Baza, Phoebe Beasley, Christopher Coppola, Juan Devis, Kathleen Gallegos, Jaime Galli, Louise McGuinness, Steven Oliver, and Rosalind Wyman. Learn more at

Kimberly Brown

Subscribe to the California ArtBeat weekly newsletter

Skip to content