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Veteran Community

Open Mic


In partnership with The Carpetbag Theatre Inc., Art2Action developed a robust Veteran Arts Program in Tampa, in conjunction with the development of Speed Killed My Cousin, a play by Linda Parris-Bailey, and our collaborative Creative Arts Reintegration (CAR) model. With support from the Alternate ROOTS "Partners in Action" program in 2013, we founded the Veterans' Community Open Mic, featuring local and national guest artists, at Sacred Grounds Coffee House. The Open Mic went on to become an ongoing monthly event, moving to The Bunker Cafe in Ybor City (Tampa) in 2016, and temporarily online in 2020. In October 2021, the Veteran Community Open Mic moved to its newest home, the Straz Center for the Performing Arts, as a quarterly event with visual art exhibitions curated by Paint22, a veteran-led organization that raises awareness about veteran suicide and prevention through the visual arts.


The Veteran Community Open Mic is a creative space for Veterans, families, community members, caregivers, allies, and Artists of all kinds. It's a creative and courageous space, where all people are welcome regardless of identity, a space where we can bring our full selves, listen, share, and grow together.  Join co-hosts Andrea Assaf & Jessica "J-9" with DJ Cotton, local artists & national guests, for a special evening of creativity & community-building, quarterly at the Straz Center Riverwalk Tent! 


First time on the mic? Seasoned poet, musician or storyteller? Just want to listen? No problem! Your level of involvement is what you want it to be, no pressure! You can sign-up to share, or just listen in. Art2Action is committed to providing a safe, respectful, welcoming & positive community environment for all. FREE admission. For details or to Register for the next upcoming Veterans Community Open Mic, please visit our Events page!

To learn more about Art2Action's multi-year Veteran Arts program, please visit Veterans in Tampa.



Articles & Links

Speed the CAR: Creative Arts Reintegration by Linda Parris-Bailey & Andrea Assaf


Moral Injury Killed My Cousin by Dr. Lynne A. Santiago, LMHC


Opening New Doors: Reflections On Art and Recovery by Cheldyn Donovan, Veteran Peer Leader


"Open Mic Night Gives Veterans an Opportunity to Heal" SPECTRUM NEWS: Bay News 9

  • Interview by Dalia Dangerfield featuring Marine Corps veteran Fred Johnson, Straz Center Artist-in-Residence and Community Engagement Specialist, and Air Force veteran Jessica "J-9" Coulter, Veteran Community Open Mic Co- Host, September 30, 2021 (Tampa, FL)


Current Partners & Funders

Former Partners & Funders

Special Events