Veterans Invited to Show Artistic Ability - VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System
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VA Sierra Nevada Health Care System


Veterans Invited to Show Artistic Ability

2020 National Second Place in the VA National Veterans Creative Arts Festival – Kelli Root, “Standing Watch” Leather Carving/Tooling - Art

2020 National Second Place in the VA National Veterans Creative Arts Festival – Kelli Root, “Standing Watch” Leather Carving/Tooling - Art

By Glenna Smith
Monday, November 30, 2020

For over ten years, Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Sierra Nevada Health Care System (VASNHCS) has participated in VA’s National Veterans Creative Arts Festival. It is an opportunity for Veterans to share their many talents through the arts. Through fine arts including painting, drawing, woodworking and leatherworking, creative writing, dance, drama and music, Veterans can explore their creative side with other Veterans and their communities. Each year, VA hosts a national competition, which begins at the local VA Medical Center level, and winners are elevated to the national competition. Below is information about the 2020 VA National Veterans Creative Arts Festival (NVCAF), a feature of VASNHCS’s two Veteran national second place winners and information about how you can also participate in art through VA.

This year, due to the coronavirus, VA has changed how the national competition is conducted, which means that we all can watch the festival from the comfort of our homes. The festival begins Monday, November 30, 2020 at 3 p.m. Pacific Time and will continue through Friday, December 4, 2020.

VASNHCS invites all to join this special event by watching on social media (Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter) at @Sports4Vets or by going directly to the website.

Monday, November 30, 2020, at 3 p.m.  – Watch Live
HOME Opening Ceremony -

Tuesday, December 1, 2020, at 11 a.m. – Movie (1 hour)
Artist Showcase – 2020 NVCA Competition Gold Medal Artwork -

Wednesday, December 2, 2020, at 11 a.m. – Movie (30 minutes)
Writer Showcase – Excerpts of the 2020 NVCA Competition Gold Medal Creative Writing -

Thursday, December 3, 2020, at 11 a.m. – Movie (1 hour)
Performer Showcase – Video clips of the 2020 NVCA Competition Gold Medal Dance, Drama and Music Performances -

Friday, December 4, 2020, at 11 a.m. – Video (10 minutes)
Finale – Recap of All Gold Medal Winners -

VASNHCS is proud to announce its two National Second Place winners, Joseph Giampapa, US Army Veteran, and Kelli Root, US Air Force Veteran. Joe performed a solo comedy in the drama category and Kelli entered in the leatherwork category under Fine Art. Both were ecstatic to be recognized. Joe explained that the NVCAF has allowed him to try different creative outlets that he would not normally have explored. Kelli has found that her artwork helps her mentally deal with physical pain.

"Veterans inspire each other, and this is an opportunity to get involved. It does not matter what level of experience you have. It’s about growth,” stated Joe, beaming over his national medal. “In the past, I competed in the Creative Writing contest but this year I wanted to try something different.” One of 11 children in an Italian family, Joe has a lot of comedic material. “Whether creative writing or stand up comedy, all forms of art are inherent in healing. I am totally impressed with Reno VA’s programs,” said Giampapa.

As a Veteran, what is in this for you? Are you interested in trying something new in the creative arts? Each year, the Reno VA Medical Center sends Veteran contestants to the national festival and each year, those local Veterans return with first, second and third place medals. But, more important than the medals, art can be a healing process. You meet other Veterans who also are learning new ways to grow, and you become part of a supportive and fun family. The Reno VA Medical Center has a robust Recreational Therapy program and Kari Fritz, Recreational Therapist, has worked to bring art to Veterans for over 25 years. “Our local leadership has been extremely supportive in helping us expand art in Veteran lives and what I have learned is that the path to participate is different for each Veteran. It is fulfilling to watch Veterans helping other Veterans and it has been an honor for me to watch the journey and witness their expression through the arts,” Kari shared. For more information about how Veterans can participate in the many art programs at Reno VA, please call Kari at (775) 785-7119.


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