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Veteran Arts Program

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In partnership with The Carpetbag Theatre Inc., Art2Action developed a robust Veteran Arts Program in Tampa, FL. We began in 2013, in conjunction with the development of Speed Killed My Cousin, a play by Linda Parris-Bailey, and our collaborative Creative Arts Reintegration (CAR) model. That collaboration began us on a multi-year journey, developing, hosting, presenting and producing programs for the Veteran community.


With support from the Alternate ROOTS "Partners in Action" program, we founded the Veteran Community Open Mic at Sacred Grounds Coffee House in September 2013. Since then, the Open Mic has been on-going, featuring local and national guest artists! In 2016, the Open Mic moved to The Bunker Cafe in Ybor City (Tampa), and in 2020, temporarily moved online. In Fall 2021-2022, the Veteran Community Open Mic moved to 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 Open Mic will be back in Fall 2023, for a 10th Anniversary celebration! For information and updates on the Veteran Community Open Mic, please sign-up for our E-News!

As part of our offerings for the Veteran community, Art2Action facilitated regular performing arts workshops at the Psychosocial Rehabilitation & Recovery Center (PRRC) of the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital (2014-2019). In Spring 2017, we co-hosted the 4th National Summit on Arts & Health in the Military with Americans for the Arts at the University of South Florida (USF), and presented the first national festival of performances by, for, about and with veterans, the R&R Arts Festival: From Recovery to Regeneration.


In Fall 2017, with the support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, we increased our creative workshop offerings to a weekly series at the PRRC and USF, culminating in the creation of a community-based devised theatre performance titled Chrysalis: A Journey of Transformation, Breaking Through, and the Process of Becoming more Human. In conjunction with this process, a pilot study on the impact of artistic practice on veteran recovery and community integration was conducted by a cross-disciplinary research team from the Center of Innovation on Disability & Rehab Research (CINDRR), a department of the VA, and the USF Psychology department. Chrysalis was remounted in May 2018, in partnership with the University of Tampa Scarfone/Hartley Gallery, as part of Kaleidoscope: A Multidisciplinary Exhibition by Artists of the Military Community, co-presented by Art2Action. The exhibit included Digital Stories by Veterans, facilitated by The Carpetbag Theatre.

This page contains articles, media, links to archival material and more. Learn more below, and visit the Veteran Community Open Mic page, too!


Veterans in Tampa
Veterans Community Open Mic - The War & Treaty
Play Video
Speed Killed My Cousin - The Carpetbag Theatre
Play Video
R&R Arts Festival - Preview
Play Video
2014 Annual Convention: Engaging Military Veterans in Your Community through the Arts
Play Video