Therapy Program Puts Veteran's Artwork on Display
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From the battlefield to the art room, a program at Rochester's Veterans Outreach
Center is helping vets cope with combat experiences by having them explore their creative side.
"Just making art in and of itself can be healing," said Wellness and Supportive Services Director Jennifer Delucia.
It's a place to be creative.
"I could have been a Picasso in another life," Geoffrey Messenger said jokingly.
But most importantly, the studio at the Veterans Outreach Center on South Avenue is a place for veterans like Messenger to connect.
"I've been working with the Veterans Outreach Program and they mentioned that there was this going on and so it seemed like something that would be really exciting to do and it's been a blast so far," said Messenger.
Messenger is just one of several vets who participates in the Art Therapy Program.
"You're not necessarily sitting in a chair for sixty minutes looking at the therapist across the table," said Delucia. "You're working. You're getting your hands in the materials. You're telling your story in a different way. And there's good things that happen for people and healing that happens when they start to tell their story even if they don't put words to their art expressions."
Delucia says art therapy is an established mental health profession. It uses traditional psychotherapeutic techniques through art materials during the creative process.
"Art Therapy Program, one of the programs where our veterans are able to come in and not only receive the benefit of our therapy services, but also be able to explore new avenues in how to deal with issues that they might be carrying back home from the combat zones," said Colonel Gary Yaple, the Veterans Outreach Center's CEO and President.
Vets will also be carrying their pieces on display. The artwork will be a part of the "Face of Veterans" Art exhibit at the Our House Gallery. They will be shown from Tuesdays through Fridays for the entire month of March.
"It's exciting. You can view things in a different light," said Messenger. "I want to go on and see the Memorial Art Gallery now. It just gives you a whole perspective on things that are out there."