Central Iowa veterans show off their artistic talents


DES MOINES, Iowa — Central Iowa veterans are showing off their talents outside of the military.

The Des Moines VA Hospital’s Creative Arts Festival was held Thursday. Veterans could submit any type of work they wanted, from paintings to sculptures, to original songs.

Show Organizer Suzanne Anderson says the creative arts are a good outlet for veterans, especially during the pandemic when interactions are limited.

Some of this year’s first-place winners agree.

“A lot of it had to do with the self-healing that a lot of veterans experience from the military, or from things that have happened outside the military. And art is a very good way to create that, you know, a release for that inner turmoil, that they may be experiencing,” said artist Ann Skallerup.

“It’s, it’s kind of therapy also because once you’re turning wood you can…you have to really pay attention to what you’re doing because you got something going you know, 1000 to 3000 RPM, spinning and you got a sharp tool against it, you got to pay attention more to do and so you can block out all the bad stuff that’s going on in your life in the world for a little bit anyway. So, I guess it’s therapy for me,” Stanley Merrell said.

First-place winners in each category are submitted to the national judges to compete against veterans from all over the country. If chosen, artists travel to the main event where they connect with other veterans, join art workshops, and take part in a live stage show.

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