Military Healthcare Practitioners, VA, & Art Therapists’ Perspective—March 11, 2017


So those of you who are out in the hall, or those of you
who are still on your feet– If you could let people
know we’re beginning, and I encourage everyone
to come and take a seat. I’m going to start with
a couple of pieces of business. And Jamie, do you need
to start with any business? Okay, good. A couple of things. Just quickly, I want to make
two significant acknowledgements. And I’ll start with one,
while people are gathering. I just, I think the role
of presentations of the art, has been so important to the quality, of the conversation that we’re having. And the sense of the experience
that we’re having. And I wanted to just acknowledge the work
of the technical crew here, that– They pride themselves
on never being seen, but they do exist and feel free
to thank them when you see them. But we’ve got our technician in the booth, Vejay’s there, Tarina and
her crew on the stage. I just wanted to be sure and thank them. I want to also– Just a quick thing
about the process. I think you are starting to feel it.
I want you to trust it. We believedeeplyin it. I really appreciate
your continued participation, active participation in it. But I think you can feel
that the conversations, are starting to acquire a kind of– There are themes that have arisen. There are questions
that are now in the air, that will ultimately need to be answered. And there’s anxiety, which I love,
about what do we do with it? When we leave here, what happens? Just take a look at the agenda
and you’ll notice that on Sunday. Tomorrow, we spend quite a bit
of time in that question. Of, now what? We’re in affinity based breakout groups. We’re looking at,
what can we do. What are we going to
take away, here. We have individual opportunities
to reflect on that. So continue right now,
to gather the questions please. And then bring them
into those breakouts tomorrow. About– I heard this.
I’d like to know more about that. There was a list that went by
yesterday, of resources. We’ll get to some networks at this table. These things are being gathered. And tomorrow will be the moment. To capture what you’re going to do, as you leave. Maintain this space of
being open to influence. I loved that formulation, Liz. And then, a reminder on the circle. We talked here about talking together.
Talking to each other. And the circle, if you could make sure
that your listening is active. I know many of you are
taking notes on your computers. That’s uh, taking your notes,
keeping your questions is great. Try to stay off your email. If you need to take
a phone call or be on email, go ahead and leave the room. It’s probably better than doing it
in the room, okay? My last acknowledgement,
before we jump in is– I just think there are people
who weren’t here yesterday, and we are here for a second day. So I would like to acknowledge
the traditional owners of the land, on which this event is taking place. The Massachusett and Wampanoag people. And pay my respects to their elders, past and present. And I invite you to do the same,
for one moment. Thank you. And then we have one other
surprise in the agenda. Which is that this table
would like to start, with the singing the national anthem.Oh say, can you see?
By the dawn’s early light.
What so proudly we hail,
at the twilight’s last gleaming.
Who’s broad stripes and bright stars,
through the perilous fight.
O’er the ramparts we watched,
were so galantly streaming.
And the rockets red glare.
The bombs bursting in air.
Gave proof through the night,
that our flag was still there.
Oh say, does that star spangled
banner yet wave?
O’er the land of the free,
and the home of the brave.
-Play ball.
-Thank you.
So, you’ve seen how this works. The introductions will go this way
at the request of one of the– -No–
-Oh, you wanted to go this way. I thought you wanted
me to go the other way. Ok, so we’re going
to pretend I’m timing you. Carl’s much better
with his timer, than I am. So pretend Carl is timing you. And we’ll do one minute each,
as we go around. Ok, I’m Melissa Walker.
I’m the Healing Arts Program Coordinator, at the National Intrepid
Center of Excellence, in Bethesda, MD. It’s on the base of, Walter Reed National
Military Medical Center. I’ve worked very closely
with a lot of you. And most of you know that I have to say, that the opinions expressed in
a moment, are mine alone, and not those of the
Department of Defense, or the federal governement. I just want to say, as you guys all know,
I’m usually pretty vocal. I’ve been very quiet.
My brain has not been. I’m very fortunate–
I feel very fortunate for, the discussions that have occurred,
and what’s about to happen. I want to talk a little bit about
that landscape that came up. And, just remind you
that I have been immersed, in the clinical realm
for the last 8 1/2 years. Through our wonderful partnership with
National Endowment for the Arts, and the work I’ve been doing
with Captain McGuire, I have had exposure to artists coming, Both into the clinical setting, and then out in the community setting. But this is very new to me. Also, I have to go back to something
Liz Lerman said yesterday, about how the continuum is a circle. And that a lot of the service members
we work with, and veterans, are going to be coming in and out
of the clinical space, and into the community space,
and then back again. So I would like to
address how we do that, safely. And how we work together. And then also,
a wonderful point made earlier. Learn each other’s languages. One thing I will point out
is the name of this panel.Military Healthcare Practitioners, VA,
and Art Therapists’ Perspective
So there are Music Therapists
at this table, as well.
And if you’re talking about us
in an umbrella way,
we are Creative Arts Therapists.I want to acknowledge that
they’re at the table,
-and it’s not just art therapists here.
-Great. Thank you.
+Hi, I’m Lisa Wong.I’m a pediatrician and a musician and, live in the space of the intersection
between art and medicine. I have worked with music therapists. I’m a musician myself,
that does medicine and, ran an orchestra of medical professionals, The Longwood Symphony, for about 20 years. I’m still a member. What I think is really interesting is
that we all have a place at the table. The medical professionals,
who are artists. The artists who want
to be working in healing spaces. As well as the people who are learning
to heal through their art. There is a space for all of that. There’s going to be tension at the edges. But, it’s where that tension lies
where growth happens, the greatest. And I think that’s something
that we have to just sort of, accept. And just listen a little harder
whenever we get to those tensions. I think empathy
and compassion. Comfort with ambiguity.
These are the things, we’re teaching our
medical students, as a sort of
preventative way, of moving
the field forward. So the next generation
will understand this, even better than we do. So that’s where I’m coming from. So, Captain Maura McGuire. I, my current position is Assistant Chief
for Internal Medicine at Walter Reed. I’m also Lead for
Integrative Health and Wellness. My entire life has been in the arts,
and I started underneath the piano, when my dad taught voice lessons
at home on Saturdays. And it has never stopped. My mom’s artwork, and her plays. So, much like Melissa,
my head is spinning a little bit because– There’s a heaviness, but there’s also an excitement
and a lot of thoughts and ideas. So I’m going to try to
express myself as clearly as I can. Lisa just mentioned something
that I find interesting. When we talk about these gaps, or the intersection
between arts and medicine. And I think well, if it’s
an intersection it’s like saying, “Oh well, we’re going to talk to you
about people, and patients.” I’m like, okay well I’m pretty sure
patients are people. Like, you know these
are the exact same things. And so I feel as though there needs to be
a shift in the way we message things. And that some paradigms
need to be completely destroyed, because they’re not even true. And it hurt’s and harms our ability to do
some really important work. But I’ll elaborate on it later,
so thank you. Good afternoon. My name is
Dr. Michelle Stefanelli. And I’m part of the VA Caregiver Program, which is out of Central Office, Washington, DC. And this program works with
post-911 veterans, families, caregivers, and their families. I am really delighted
to have been invited here, by Jane and the group. To really talk about the network, of available services and partnerships, that are already embarked with
the Veterans Administration, and the community. And I’ll address that in a little bit,
so thank you.Sorry Sarah, before you go
can I also say,
that there’s nothing
that I say today,
that represents the views of the DOD
or the government. Thank you. So, my name is Sarah Kass
and I am retired from the military, so I no longer need
to give that disclaimer. My views are mine, and mine alone
and nobody else is claiming them. I come here today, sometimes
feeling like an imposter. But yet, deeply interested in
the work that’s happening here. I retired from the Navy two years ago,
after 23 years of service. The last few years
working specifically, at the National Intrepid
Center of Excellence. With Melissa, and Rebecca,
and Bill O’Brien from the NEA, on this NEA/military
Healing Arts partnership, that we now call the
Creative Forces Network. When i retired–
and prior to that, I’m excited to see
this all come together, because prior to that I worked at the
headquarters for Navy Medicine, on Wounded Warrior policy, and helped bring reentry
to military bases, across the Marine Corps
and the Navy. And it’s exciting to see the
great work going on with that. But when I retired from the military
I had a choice of what I wanted to do. What was most important to me, was to bring the things that
were working in healthcare, to help veterans,
service members, and their families heal from
these invisible wounds of war. I had seen the incredible power
of the healing arts, both in the clinical setting,
as well as community engagement. And wanted to help promote that,
and foster that. So that’s why I work
as a consultant to the NEA, and helping to expand
that partnership. Thanks for letting me be here today. I’m Jeremy Nobel,
and I’m a General Internist. And also with the
Foundation for Art and Healing. I’m also a poet. So I’m looking at this
wonderful conversation, from lots of perspectives. So, the Foundation for
Art and Healing is a nonprofit. It’s been around 14 years. And we explore and promote the idea
that creative arts expression, improves health and well-being. We do that in three areas. One is creating awareness, to people
for whom it is not immediately obvious. Like the people in this room. But I’m happy to say that
most people find it an appealing idea, and can rapidly move towards it, when you actually put the idea
in front of them. We do a lot of awareness work. We also develop
innovative programs, of various kinds,
to actually bring, creative expression
opportunities to people. And then we also do research. In many ways I think that is kind of the
anchor of our identity as an organization, to try to bridge growing
neurophysioligic research, and understanding about
what’s going on in the brain. With creative expression. And then, what we can make available
to people in their communities. Either directly, or through groups. The big– and I’m here today 100%,
because of an accidental encounter, with Bill O’Brein. About six years ago.
It was a convening like this, on a related topic
on design in healthcare. And Bill said, “You should
come see what we’re doing.” And then I rapidly met
Melissa and Captain McGuire. It’s been a terrific partnership you know, working with that great energy. Because there’s so many
clinicians around the table, I thought I’d just
share a little bit about, our newest
initiative and focus. Which is really to look
at loneliness and isolation, as a public health challenge. I’ll make a bet now. Within 2-3 years you’re
going to be hearing about, loneliness and isolation,
as the public health challenge, that is going to replace obesity,
as what everyone talks about. I know that because you’re
already hearing about it on NPR, which means it’s on the
leading edge of things. And I think we’re generally aware
that loneliness and isolation, is a challenge on the mental health,
or behavioral health side. Through the classic triad
of increased risk for, depression, substance abuse,
and suicide. One of the reasons
we started focusing on it, was growing epidemiologic
work that came out in 2014, showing that there’s something about the
lonely brain or the isolated brain, that because of increase
in inflammatory response, and reduction in immune response, has a 30% increase of early mortality. Totally separate from
suicide and substance abuse. But because of cardiovascular risk. Heart disease and stroke,
and immune deficiency. Which leads to oncologic risk and,
to a certain extent, other disorders. The net aggregate risk
for being lonely and isolated is equivelent to
smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Yet, as a society
we don’t react to it. We don’t talk about it. We don’t put it to that level
of awareness, attention, and commitment of resource. So we’ve taken it on. We’ve launched the
Unloneliness Project, in partnership with AFTA,
and some others. And we launched last May. As I mentioned, we do a lot
of awareness generating and programs. To generate awareness,
we actually are doing an online film festival
on loneliness and isolation. Now I didn’t take the
marketing course in medical school. But we knew we shouldn’t call it, “The Lonely,
Isolated Film Festival.”I’m looking at you.If you want to see it.You’re at three minutes.It’s the Creatively Connected
Film Festival, and we’ll talk more about it. Because it will lead to empathy, and some of the other kind
of activities we’re talking about.-Great.
-Hi, I’m Rebecca Vaudreuil. I am a music therapist
for Creative Forces. Thank you Melissa, for pointing out that
clarification on the screen. I work alongside Melissa– Am I being to soft? I work alongside Melissa, at the National Intrepid
Center of Excellence. Also been working
with Creative Forces, on the expansion project. Which I’m very grateful
for the opportunity, and will be moving to California. Which is exciting, next week, to start developing this
in other areas. As a Mass native, and being at the table
with some colleagues, I’ve gone to grad school with. I did get my Bachelor’s
in Music Therapy at Berkley, right around the corner. Did my grad school
at Harvard University. And I’m a Music Therapist. I’m a musician. And this is my community,
and it always will be. It’s my home. And I think, I only got here today. But just by engaging
in that anthem, and hearing everyone
at this table, and everyone in the room, sing. I feel very connected right now. More than ever,
from this morning. Even being a tardy participant
to the convening. Just from that music
making experience. I think that says a lot
about community building. Through even a small,
few minute piece. A very powerful piece.Great thank you,
Rebecca. Welcome.
Hello. I’m Brittany Costa. I’m a musician. I am an arts administrator. And I’m in the military. I’m here today with
Berkley College of Music. I found out about the convening
from Rebecca. So, thank you. I am the department
coordinator there, and we are trying
to grow our program, so that we can reach out more to
the military and veteran community. We’re trying to expand because
it’s what we feel we need to do. It’s a very important community
that should experience music therapy. And it’s already happening at Walter Reed,
and a lot of other veterans organizations. And a lot of our students
are expressing the wanting, to be involved in that population. So we’re hoping to partner with more
local organizations, veteran hospitals, other universities where they have
a veteran student population. To train our students with
professional music therapy facilitators. That way we are training our students to
have the knowledge of that population. The knowledge of how
to work with that population. And also contribute to the community, by providing more
music therapy outlets for them. Through that we’re going
to research and evaluate. That way we can provide data
to establish more funding. Because foundations love data. We don’t think that we need
to prove the validity. But western medicine
thinks that we do. So we’re going to continue to do that, and that way we can create sustainability
through our programming.On the other side, my military experience.I’ve been in for 11 years,
in the Army band.
But I also did 5 years active duty
in a military healthcare facility.
-Great, thank you.
-I’m Scot Engel.
A psychologist over
at Fort Hood.
I do need to again,
the caveat.
The views that I express
are not the views of the DOD, but they are exclusively my own. Now that that’s an aside,
I am a civilian. And I am not an artist.
So why am I here? That poses an important question. It’s been somewhat
uncomfortable, at times. You know I– If my mother is watching. At the sixth grade recital, I wasn’t really
playing the clarinet. I pretended. So now it’s out. But I have the privilege
of being the director, at the Intrepid Spirit Center,
at Fort Hood, TX. There are five in the country. We’re very uniquely situated. We are a private/public partnership, with DOD and the
Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund. We have four separate sections, where we’re treating the
service member holistically. We have a medical section,
a rehab section, a pain section, a psychological health section. Have over 50 assets
within that footprint, and somehow I get to be
the director of that. So it’s quite a privilege. We have recently partnered with NEA, and are now expanding some of the
VA services to include art therapy. Part of the challenge that I face
is intuitively understanding, as a psychodynamically
trained psychologist, the value of art. And the projection
and utility in art. How to convince my staff
that there is value added here. So it starts internally, then just trying
to understand that– Eventually they’re going to
have to get on the boat, or they won’t be able
to necessarily stay. This is where
we’re going. But it is, there is a richness
to this that I think, has to be explained to our staff,
so people understand it. It’s getting our service members
exposed to art therapy. And then eventually building
bridges into the community, so they can get
out of the bunker, and get back into
the community. And be engaged.
I’ll stop there.Great. Thank you.Alright hi, I’m Bill O’Brien. I’m the Senior Advisor
for Innovation, to the chairman for the, National Endowment
for the Arts. I come to this table with
a sense of all my worlds colliding. And I think it’s worth laying out. Because I think there’s a shift
in value that I experienced, that’s worth me bringing forward
at this conversation. I spent about 15 of my first adult years
as a theater making practitioner, performing on stages in 48 states. Writing and composing music
for national tours, then becoming a producer
for Deaf West Theatre. Then about 10 years ago, I came to
the National Endowment for the Arts. Witnessed the birth of Hell Round. And was the theater and musical theater
director for about three years. Then for about six,
seven years now I’ve been working on setting up a
program innovation office. We look a lot at the
intersection of art, science, nature of creativity in the brain,
that kind of thing. But also arts and health. And military was the other thing
that I was given a task to consider. I realized it all came together
in one fell swoop, up the NICO. When I started hearing
about the kind of patient centered care
that they were doing. I think the reason I wanted to bring
this forward is that, as a practitioner, and as the experience that I’ve had as
persuing art as a calling, as a vocation. There’s a set of core values
that I think we all sort of understood. There are things like freedom of speech,
the resistance of content shaping. Not allowing your art to be used as a
reduced utility for some other purpose. And I think, if there’s
one thing that’s been a really interesting shift in my mind, as we work in a very patient centered,
person centered way. It’s to think again
about who is an artist, and what’s the purpose of that art. And when you really put it into
a specific purpose where you are, locking arms with a team of people,
and you are bringing arts to the table, to confront a societal concern
that a lot of people care about. Those values need to be reconsidered. It’s okay to be thinking
about the art as a utility. To be thinking about,
we’re bringing arts into play. As an important player
in the role of the effort to confront, the most vexing invisible wounds of war. I think it’s a very powerful thing. It really reintegrated, reenergized my
sense of what art means to me. Who does it. Where it happens.
Let it go, with that.That’s a great place to begin.
And Sara, I’m going to come to you.
-One of the things that I’ve been–
-I said I was the imposter.Yeah, that’s why.One of the things that has arisen
in the earlier conversations.
There seems to be a kind of,
three different areas of service really,
in terms of the utility of this work.So we all gathered out of
a sense that this work is:
A. Happening– and
B. Matters.
That’s, the whole room can share that.But then I’ve heard this
kind of divergence, about how.
And why.The area that is striking me is that–We’ve been talking about
cultural diplomacy.
That just surfaced recently,
as the utility of art in the military,
as a tool of cultural diplomacy.We’ve also talked about it
as a healing tool.
And we’ve talked about it
as civics literacy.
And anyone can jump in, but I wanted
to ask you specifically Sara.
This– Is it important
to you do you think,
that we are clear at the outset?Are we doing all three at once?Do we need to be focused
on which we’re doing,
and which ones we’re not doing?How important is it to be clear,
from your perspective,
as we enter?Thanks. I think it’s really important
that we’re very clear, what our intention is at the outset. That doesn’t mean
that there aren’t sometimes, unintended consequences
of something that happens. And I can give a very clear example
from my time at the NICO. When Melissa was engaged
with our patients, doing a mask making
therapeutic intervention. And very clearly,
the intent of doing that, is a very specific healing intention
for an individual patient. But one of the things that we did there, is we started to display the masks, in that center in a way that I think,
really importantly, invited others into engaging
in their own therapy. They realized that when
they walked into that studio, and they saw the masks of other people, That they were not alone.
That they could go with others. And take that risk of engaging in therapy. And so what started as an
individual therapeutic encounter could be used in a way,
almost unintentionally, to invite others into therapy. And then I think the last part
of that same thing, that gets it sort of the
civic discourse on this initiative is, these same masks became sort of
an interest to National Geographic. A spread in National Geographic was done, highlighting some of
the work with the masks, that I think–
As I would have to sit there, and justify the cost of this facility, I would talk about the value
of what happened in the facility. Of really helping to educate society, about what 15 years of war looks like. And I think that’s incredibly important. It’s a lot of what I’ve heard here,
in this room the last couple of days. But I think that at the very beginning, we always go back to
“Well why are we creating those masks?” And if we deviate from
why we’re creating those masks, to start to be about civic discourse? I think then, we’re making
those patients, artists. And that’s not what’s important.
What’s important to them is healing. When we start, where we start is,
I think, critically important. But I think we ought to be open to
how they can be used in other ways.Yeah, that– That “open to influences”
that Liz suggested earlier.
Anyone have follow onto that? Yeah.Okay, I’ll piggy back on you.Oh, I don’t know if
you want to piggyback on me.
I mean, I could clearly carry you, but–I’m going to take us
totally off road.
Because I keep hearing these
conversations about, you know, art. As though it’s a separate entity
from the person. So in other words, its kind of like, “Oh, there’s a person.
They’re breathing.” “Look at that.
Did you see that?” Or they’re eating. “Oh my god.
I can’t believe it.” This is such a natural part
of who we are, right? So for instance, within
integrative health and wellness. When people come,
I don’t immediately assume that they don’t take care of themselves. I ask them “Howdoyou
take care of yourself?” And it’s the same thing. I don’t assume that
you’re not creative or an artist. I’d like to knowhowyou are. Because at the end of the day,
we’re all story tellers. Even Scot, you just told a story. We all curate our lives. We areallcreative. And every single time we make it
into something else, I think we’re reinforcing that paradigm. That’s not helpful.Yeah, so let me ask you then.As an artist, which is
my relationship to this work.
When I enter,how do I express that?Both my sense of understanding that
and my sense of–
My curiosity about the difference
between your experience,
and how you’re going to
express it as an artist,
and my experience?How do I enter in a way
that doesn’t say,
“Oh good for you.
You’re eating.”
“And I’m so surprised
that you breathed.”
How do I enter in a way
that we start from human?
So I guess it would depend
on the situation, right? But again, not with the assumption
that you don’t do these things. Because it reinforces that idea,
that it’s something separate. So art should be an inclusive term, and not an exclusive one. I mean there’s a difference between
being a professional artist, an artist who kind of dabbles. But we are all artists,
and we’re all creative. And sometimes–
I was talking to Lisa earlier, we use this term like “The Arts.” That’s someone coming and saying
“Oh, tell me about medicine.” Okay, well medicine is like massive, and– Like someone coming and saying
“Tell me about art.” Oh, okay. You know, I just– I think sometimes
our messaging is not clear, and it actually interferes
with what we’re trying to do. So reminding people that we are creative. And it is as natural
as breathing and eating. If I can, I’m going to try
to string two points from that. Art work is an
extension of ourselves. From an art therapist
point-of-view, we use the art to communicate
with the patient. Same with the music, right? So in the case of National Geographic, I had to very carefully choose
who was involved in that project. I think it’s important
for people to know that. They didn’t just– I didn’t just pick
a couple of names out of a hat. They were less vulnerable. They had to opt into it,
and feel comfortable with it. You have to also
explain to them, that they’re then out there
in society for people to judge. But it also had
the positive aspects, in that people became
more aware of art therapy, as a way to treat these
invisible wounds of war. It also allowed society
to better understand, what they were going through. So it validated their experiences,
which was a beautiful thing. I think that plays maybe, into the empathy part of this conversation
that we’re about to get into. And then, one more thing
about this loneliness and isolation. These masks have created a community,
for the service members. Community has been strong
through this entire event. And then also,
it’s shown up in our research. So we researched about 400 of the masks. We’ve had over 1400 created. And we saw that,
and we correlated it to their incoming Post Traumatic
Stress Disorder scores, and their Generalized Anxiety scores. And those service members who
symbolized a sense of community– Either within their team, within
the military, or with their families. They had a lower score of PTSD. We are able to take that
and know then, that sense of community
is a protective factor. So loneliness and isolation,
not a healthy thing. And the arts. They’re a great and beautiful way
to create that sense of community. And we’ve actually seen
service members create teams. There are actual artist teams, working together outside
of the clinical realm. So it does happen. I just think this is such an
important conversation for us to have.Can I just add onto that,
as a clinician.
I had the opportunity of visiting you in
Washington just a few weeks ago,
and as soon as you are
up close and looking at a mask,
you can start to understand,having not even met the veteran,some of the things
that they’re going through.
Just looking at those masks,
they speak so loudly.
Thatthatincreased my empathy
and increased my–
Really prepared me
for this conference.
Toseethe kind of struggles that are
expressed through a simple mask.
And I thinkthatis building a community.I think it’s difficult for us
to be thinking that,
the clinicians are on one side,
and the patients are on another.
And which ones are the artists?-Let’s– I think it’s—As many opportunities as we have
to either make art together,
or to discuss art together
that breaks down the barriers.
And I think there’s actually
three different dimensions there,
that we’re trying to blend a bit today.Which is, there’s the clinicians.There’s the patients.And then there are the artists.As though they were separate.How do–
And as artists–
Civilian artists.Artists with no experience
with the military.
Entering this conversation.How do we enter in a
place of understanding,
that we’re part of
this continuity?
This unity?I want to let Michelle
get in because there was–
A bit ago, and then I have
a question coming to you.
Thank you. I just wanted to
touch base on a couple of things. With Jeremy and with Melissa,
and everybody he’s talking about. Well, with the VA Caregiver Program. We’re an evidence based program. During the RAND study in 2014, they did identify that 53% of the
caregivers definitely feel isolated. And with that being said, that they’re
looking for the social support. With that going up to the next level, we have a program which is the
Peer Support Mentoring Program. And where caregivers teach
other caregivers, on a national level. And because of the outcome study, we have found that
local peer mentoring 1-on-1, face-to-face, has more of an impact. Just to give you an idea
of what’s happening. To bring it closer together. Peer mentors volunteer around the nation
at over 50 organizations. There’s probably some organizations in
your community that you’re not aware of. Also, they walk the walk. And that’s one of my sayings
that we reflect on. Because they say, “You can’t walk in my shoes.
Walk the walk.” And that’s where they really are promoting
their education, their knowledge. And really sharing their experiences. What I’m also getting at also, is that there is some
of the mentors expressing– Through art therapy,
through music therapy. And as a matter of fact, one of my mentors
is pretty much a subject matter expert, dealing with PTSD and art.
And wrote a book. I’m really glad to see
this is coming together.And is there a place that
we could find that list of 50 and–
We could gather, we don’t need
to go through the list now.
But there’s a place where
we could get that information
and put it into the report here,
so that people have it?
-Great. Did you have a response to that?
-Yeah, just something to piggyback,off a comment.When we were in Creative Forces
we went and held
a State Arts Agency meeting in San Diego, around Veteran’s Day last year. One of, from Combat Arts, one of the artists whose in the community,
working on bases– She’s not an art therapist. She’s very eager to say
that she’snotan art therapist, and she works closely
with leadership as well. But she said, the biggest thing
that’s helped me– So your question was what’s your in?
How do you access? She said that one of the
biggest things that helped me, was getting those
peer mentor veterans. Who help her to bridge the gap
between what she doesn’t know. Right, her gap in knowledge. And what the needs are
of that population. So she doesn’t have necessarily,
therapeutic training. She’s not a credentialed art therapist. It’s supplemental, so it’s helpful.
It’s meeting a need. Because thereisn’t
an art therapist at that base yet. So instead of having no art, they’re using their community artists
in a way that they can bridge that gap. And peer mentoring
was a huge part of that. Just from my experience working
in San Diego, in the nonprofit sector, before I moved into Creative Forces
and started working in DC. I’ve had some great experiences
with community musicians. Hollywood’s right up
the road from Pendleton, so I had a lot of eager Hollywood
musicians wanting to partner. Some of those partnerships
went really well. Some did not. I would say for everything
that goes well, those few that did not– And really what I saw
was exploiting the veteran. It was very problematic. So I think– We can be inclusive.
What you were saying Dr. Wong. But it’s informed inclusivity.
People have to be informed. Information sharing.Talk more about the things that–
The elements of what was wrong.
What went wrong. I mean,I think we want to make sure that we’re
surfacing the mistakes as well as the–
Sure. So on a spectrum,
everything’s a spectrum. Everything’s a continuum, right? So on a spectrum, let’s start with–
I always start with positives. What went really well? Programs like Music War,
with Arthur Bloom. He works on base,
at Walter Reed. And he works with patients there. With musicians and musician trainers. With patients who have
a strong clinical team. And he takes them out
to perform at Kennedy Center. For an open audience of their peers. You know, the community.
The civilian, bridging that divide. To a spectrum where we have some people
from Hollywood who were working, with service members to record their song,
and they end up exploiting that with– People who shall remain nameless,
Billy Ray Cyrus. It’s out in public. It was on CNN where they had
this song that was written, in a music therapy context
and then was very much shifted. And then made a music video
that was blasted across the nation. To a much more severe end of the spectrum
where there was a song writing workshop, that highlighted a service member
who wrote a song called. “I Can’t See the Sunshine”
about his experience in combat. Losing friends, losing battalion members. And then after that wasnews cast,the service member
ended up killing himself, and the headline read “Veteran Engaged in
Music Therapy Commits Suicide.” Now that wasnotmusic therapy,
but again it was not informed. It’s not that it wasn’t informed
by the song writers, it was just not informed by the media.I’m going to get to you Scot.
Can I pull you in on this?
Because yesterday you
raised a question, very directly.
About what doors, what triggers–
And how to manage those.
And so maybe we could talk
a little bit as a table,
about the management of those.Thanks, I appreciate that opportunity. No, our patient population
is very fragile. And just moving to get
treatment is courageous. The warrior ethos sort of
prohibits active seeking of care. There are efforts to change the culture.
And it happens very incrementally. I think the Intrepid Spirit Center
platform is helping raise awareness, and allowing folks to step forward
and receive care. I think that you do find inherently,
therapists and providers– That’s my soldier. That’s our soldier. We’re going to be very careful
referring out into the community. Because we know the perils
of potential challenges, that may be encountered. That is, perhaps also due
to a lack of understanding, as to where are the boundaries. How do things exist within
the art community. We’re just now in the process
now of engaging in that. And we have an
art therapist on the ground. And after our PTSD groups, either individuals will go to yoga
or they’ll go to art therapy. And the benefits that are seen again, as a psychodynamic between
psychologists, is so rich. And it’s beautiful, and it’s amazing. But there are
service members that really– They struggle with some of the,
bringing this material to life. One quick example is that,
in some of the art there was a weapon. It said suicide and there was a gun to
a person’s head, in his art presentation. And we didn’t get that information
until 48 hours later. That’s concerning. That’s a challenge. We have to be communicating,
we have to be talking, and we have to understand the risks. And we may be talking
about different populations– Patient populations, as well as folks
that are out in the community, seeking art as a rehabilitative
community engagement aspect. So when I talk about our patients, I’m talking about folks that are
actively engaged in treatment. There are significant risks with that
patient population that may be different, than some of the folks
you guys see in your studios.Great. Did you want to
come into that, Ed?
Yeah, we all do.And probably–I think the clinicians are
very conscious of the safety issue.
And we’re very conscious that
in the broad population of people who have any level of distress, is some subset of them who have
significant level of distress. It’s our obligation to be attentive to
the fragility of that subpopulation. At the same time, in public health it’s
often diagrammed out as a pyramid– There’s a base of a pyramid
with people of mild risk factors. You know, kind of
struggle with something. May not even know they have an issue. Then you have the
middle of the pyramid people, who might have it in a mild way. And then people at the top of the pyramid
that have severe issues. This is true for whether it’s diabetes or
heart disease or a mental health issue. We have to get much more
careful and precise, when we start thinking about programming. Particularly to the
vulnerable population. Where we are on the pyramid? Because you can actually
make a mistake in either direction. You can say “Oh, creative arts
expression is so precious.” “It needs to be just targeted to people
who have the most significant distress.” “In tightly controlled
therapeutic environments.” Well, that runs the risk of not exposing,
or allowing people to benefit, from the amazing ability of
the arts to just create conversation, build resiliance, shared
sense of connection. All those wonderful things. So we have to find our way.
It’s a very timely conversation. Because if we don’t get it right, people move to
one direction or the other. They get quite polarized about it. And then it slows things down.To both of those points,
you said communication.
And I think that to enter into that space
with a service member or a veteran, it’s going to be very important to say
art is a very powerful thing. And this is going to innately and
naturally bring up things, for you. And be aware of that.
Both the person facilitating the art, but also the veteran
or service member themselves. And to have resources and
safety nets within your community, or your local area set up. In case they do get
to the point where, they need to go back
into the clinical space. A good example of that is an art therapist
we work with, Donna at Fort Belvoir. Who assists, or she’s with many of
the patients she’s treating, in a nonclinical setting in the community,
and they do ceramics together. And she explains to them,
listen this is not therapy time. But if something comes up to you
during this experience, we can talk about it back in the space. And the other thing I need to say is that
I think you bring up a very good point. It was in the reentry
conversation earlier, too. That a lot of these service members. They feel like if they do open up
in the clinical space, they’re going to lose they’re job,
or rank, or security clearance. And so they are a little
more comfortable sometimes, outside of that realm, opening up. And so we have to
remind ourselves of that. But then I’ve worked with
another organization who made sure– And I know this doesn’t always work,
because I heard it yesterday. There was a creative arts therapist
in the room during the workshop, and they wove art and music and writing
through the theme of the workshop. But the creative arts therapist
wasn’t there to interject, or they’re part of the process. That was a train
the trainer situation, where the veterans
were actually helping lead. Then they train
the other veterans, to do the
future workshops. It felt, like I said,
there was a safety net. It felt– It was all inclusive
and it felt very safe.Can I switch topics for just a second?And we can come back to it
if there’s something unsaid,
or we can get to it
on the outer circle.
I want to raise another thing
that comes straight out of this.
Brittany, I think I’m going to poke
at you for a second if you don’t mind?
We’ve heard a lot thus far,
which I’ve found very provocative.
About reframing the notion
of the vet as a victim.
The vet as a patient that needs help,
and that the arts can come and help.
And reframing that to:
How do the arts
andthe strength,and the training, and the
purpose driven life of a veteran.
How do those things
come together to create value?
So in this conversation, where we
focus so much about coming in to help.
Can you talk about your own experience
of where you feel art,
and your experience
as a veteran, come together?
I can try. I think a lot of what Melissa
was saying is very important. That everyone has their own experience. And some people value
having another veteran in the room. To kind of help them collaborate,
accept, experience things together. And some of them don’t want that at all. I’ve been around veterans
who cannot be in uniform anymore, and they can’t be around
people in uniform. And treatment won’t happen unless
everyone in uniform leaves the room. I’ve had cases where I had to go home,
or bring civilian clothes to work with me. Change to civilian clothes
and then go meet someone, at a cafe off base, or whatever. Because they were just
not able to communicate, or speak to me in any way
if I was in uniform. I had to like pretend that
I wasn’t in the military. I think there’s different situations,
and everyone has their own experiences. And that’s always– That’s something
that’s good to understand and value. And anyone who’s working with
the veteran or military community, that’s a good thing to
be trained in, I guess. But on the flip side, it is good to have
a peer veteran around with you, to kind of translate or
to have that language. So there is no barrier.I want to get at one other thing
that we had talked about first.
And then we can go wherever
we have time to go.
And I’m going to point this
at you, Dr. Wong.
We’ve also talked a lot
about the difference,
between the professional artist,
and the veteran.
And we have talked about
the fact that many are both.
We’ve talked about the projects
that involve practice,
where the veterans are actually the
creative artists in the project.
Where the project
is created by artists,
who represent the
experience of the veteran.
Is there a distinction in your mind,in terms of the value or the role
of either of those places to stand,
whether its participation of
the veterans in the creative process?
Or more, yesterday we talked
about it in terms of audience,
more as the receivers or
as who’s stories are being represented.
Is there a value difference there?Or different ways to deploy them?
What would you say is going on in that?
Yeah, I think that
both of them are very valid. I think Liz Lerman referred to
the process, to the product. And I was thinking
about that actually, in terms of Music War,
with Arthur Bloom’s group. Where those musicians may be
double or triple amputees, but they are musicians first. And they will practice
for 8-10 hours a day, or they’ll jam for hours. During which time,
as a neuroscientist or physician, you’re see that their
executive function is improving, and they’re occupational therapy
is not necessary, because they’re practicing fingering on
their guitar or their piano. And all of those things
are happening, in the process of something
beyond themselves. And I was thinking about that as, just overall, what are we doing? Is we are looking
for a purpose driven life. I was talking to people
yesterday who are saying, “Our life doesn’t stop as
being veterans after the war.” “What is going to go on for the next
10, 20, 30, 40 years of our life?” “And where does our direction go with our
new identity or our Built It identity.” That’s true for all of us who
have had a trauma of any sort. But, the arts is one of those things
where you can never win. You can never get to
that absolute pinnacle of art, because art is always beyond you. It gives you something
to strive for, at all moments. Even if you say,
play the same concerto. It sounds different next year,
when you have a different life experience. Or if you’re in a play 100 times
around the country, each performance is different. I think that’s going back to the point of, we are all a single population
and just helping reintegrate. So that we’re all moving in that
same population is what’s really key.Um hmm. And I have another
question about mutuality I think,
Captain, if you don’t mind.Is there equivalency in your mind,
between the skills?
We’ve heard the different skills.
We’ve used the term warriors.
And artists.In this conversation,
are you feeling that we’re on–
We’re in the Liz Lerman balance place,in terms of the skills that the warriors
bring to the conversation,
and the skills that the artists
bring to the conversation?
Is that balance even important
as we’re entering these projects?
And how are we doing as a field,
in your experience of us with that?
Oh my gosh. It’s interesting that
you use the word skills. And so I will answer your question,
but probably not actually answer it. And just answer the question, -that I think I heard you say.
Okay, great.Because in my work
I deal with skills all the time. I mean that’s what
health and wellness is about. Is providing people with those skills
that they need to be healthy and well. So, the skill of self awareness,
because it is a skill. Sometimes it takes us to places
that are very uncomfortable. But the more you do it,
sometimes the easier it gets. Right. Those are the skills. And I totally agree that
it really is the process. I mean, that is at the end of the day,
exactly what it’s about. For instance, at Walter Reed
we have artists in healthcare, who work on the inpatient unit. They are– They’re not
creative arts therapists, so they don’t intentionally
evoke traumatic memories. But they’re artists who have
received specialized training. They are literally just there, to acknowledge that moment,
and capture it. That’s it. It’s a single data point. You don’t need to do anything
with it if you don’t want to. There’s no product?
Maybe there is, maybe there isn’t. Those are the skills that
I think everybody needs. And so, for instance when we were singing, because Melissa, Rebecca and
I sing from time to time. I’m an alto, and the beautiful thing
about being an alto, is that you can’t be an alto by yourself.Um hmm. Or base.You can’t. You can be
a soprano by yourself, right. You can’t be an alto by yourself. So I mean, those around us
are really important for us understanding who we are. And I think that also speaks
to the community piece. I don’t know if that
answers your question, but–It starts to. My question was probably
a little bit more concerned,
about whether or not,in this particular conversation,we have equivalency,
in terms of which are more important.
I’m getting at this dynamic of,
we coming to help.
As artists, we coming to help.So our skills are being
brought into the equation.
And hearing, at this table,actually the work is already going on
and we can come in to serve it,
is probably the better place to come.So I think this touches on what
I was wanting to say earlier. Which is, some of the
people that I’ve seen, who have been in this space
for a while from the arts side. Places like Impart.
If anybody’s seen the video, they do blacksmithing
and pottery with people, who have gone through, the Creative Forces
program at Fort Belvoir. There’s a hot shop,
Hero’s Glassblowing. I saw this in the
second piece, of KJ’s yesterday, and I want to talk to her about that. Because, this also happened
in the writing program that we’ve been doing
for about 5 years, where initially we were very eager
to get into the drama. There was some good background,
and James Pennebaker, a psychologist who’s done expressive
writing that really focused on trauma. But as we got into
a conversation with him, we started to think maybe our role is
meaning making, sense making– We can actually, and this is
the content shaping thing, that I was
alluding to earlier. Let’s go ahead and steer ourselves to be
where we can feel comfortable, if there is going to be
something deep and heavy. Survivor guilt or some other
existential issue. In this setting, I’d rather
the creative arts therapists, be the one managing that. And I notice that in KJ’s piece,
where Reentry, which Ilove. And I’ve known as it was being built– But really experiencing again.
It was very moving. But I did notice that
there was a lot of anger. There was a lot of PTSD kinds of issues. And then the subsequent piece, that she
was really thinking about creating, to have a conversation
with Navy medical people. Was a much different kind
of set of tone and themes. The Navy chap. Every time
he opened his mouth I’m like, “Now what’s he going to say?” And I think this gets back
to this thing, that keeps coming up
over and over again, about– Sorry I looked at,
outside the circle. About stigma. And I think, for me what I’ve
really gained an appreciation of, is that if you think about it
in terms of Eugene O’Neil. Some people have heard me say this a lot. His sense of his life purpose as being, pulling back the veil on the mysteries
that drive the human condition. I think if we really understand that
the war time experiences has given people who have
gone through that, an unfair advantage in
pursuing that work. Then we’re not looking
at it as an illness. We’re looking at it
as meaning making, and insight. When we come into these spaces safely,
if we could just be thinking– A safe way to come in is to steer insight
towards the kinds of proactive things, that they’re groping for. Rather than rumination
on the kinds of things, we might find fascinating. But might not be the
healthiest thing, for us all to sit in.Great. I’m going to pause,
we’re going to the circle.
Sara, you have the first question.So let’s go to the–
Who’s got the mics?
Sara, go ahead and make your comment.
I’m sorry to cut you off,
but we’re running out of time.The only thing I was going to
piggyback onto what Bill was saying.
I thinks it’s so important in why this
dialogue that we’re having together,
as a community,
is so incredibly important,
is because we’re
sitting there talking,
as healthcare providers
about what’s happening.
But less than 50% of the people
who are suffering from PTSD,
and traumatic brain injury
actually go into the healthcare setting.
So, they go into communities. And that is why this is such
an important dialogue, because healing happens
out in the communities. And the more we can learn together, and learn from each other
how to address this is so important. I just wanted to point that out, because we’re only talking
about those who come see us. And there’s a lot more.Yeah. You have the microphone.And thank you for that.That’s a good introduction to what
I was going to say just now. You asked a question
about going within a community, to the veterans and helping. This is the thing that,
for me personally as a veteran. When I went to carpetbag,
they weren’t helping me with art. They created a space where
I could be heard, and they were listening. That’s what it was.
For me, it wasn’t art. I was sitting in a circle
with people who appeared to care, and had a mutual understanding
because the question, in the center of the circle
was related to being a veteran. Or knowing, or associating
with someone that was a veteran. Every story that was told, was that. And when it came to me,
I was able to share my story. So it wasn’t in art. It was in listening. That community and someone was listening
and waiting to hear me, finally.Okay, hands up if you have a–I want to encourage people.This is the part
of the process where,
some of you have been
sitting in listening mode,
for a really long time,
at this point.
More than a day.And you’re sitting on things
that need to get into the room.
I really want to encourage
those of you who haven’t yet,
to share the things that you’re
even afraid to share.
Or are unformed.If you haven’t yet had
an opportunity to do that.
Sometimes they call this about,step up your participation
and step up your listening.
If you’re someone who
tends to participate,
step up your listening.If you’re someone
who tends to not participate,
we really need
that from you.
You’re holding things
that need to get into the room.
So–
Go ahead.
As someone who’s
participated, maybe–
-That’s okay.
-Okay. You made the announcement after–
Yeah, right. You already
had the mic.
This is not about shaming.
This is just about encouraging.
I thought you were looking
at me when you said that. So, I did– One thing you said Melissa. Thinking about the safety net around us,
I know we’ve talked about that a lot. I think in there,
is an implicit assumption that there is that safety net. I know a lot of us have
communities that we work with, that creative arts therapists
might not be there.-Doesn’t have to be there.
-Doesn’t have to be. I guess my question is how,
as community service providers– What are the resources that we should be
looking into as potential safety nets, if there’s not a Creative Forces
therapist in the area? Where do we go as someone, when we cross that line and
someone needs more support? Where do we lead them?Liz, you want to answer?I don’t actually know if I can,
because I will be endorsing.
But I’m going to whisper
something in her ear.
And let her
complete her thought.
No, I’m just kidding.
Well, sort of.
I think some of it–
What was that?How is it that the most performance
is happening with the–
I think that some of it has to do with
the training ahead of time, Sam. It’s again about intention, it’s about
being prepared for those sorts of things. And not waiting until you need it,
to know where it is. I think, when you’re going
into a situation, being– A lot of times, in medicine
we call it informed consent. Making sure that you’re giving people, a clear understanding of
what they’re about to engage in. So that they can choose
whether or not to do it, or not. And be prepared. Having those resources,
across multiple communities. There are lots of different places that
are federal, that will support that. Be that the Department of Defense
or Veterans health centers, vet clinics, and all the different
things that exist out there. But there are also a lot of
nonprofit organizations for healthcare. Give An Hour is a great organization
I can go ahead and support. -Is that the one you said?
-Yeah.Awesome! I didn’t
even know that. But another– You know there
are a number of them. I think that if you’re in a community
and you’re starting to do this work, you should know where
your safety net is before you engage. So that you know
where to go to.Know where your safety net
is before you engage.
I totally agree with that. I think that if you just
let them know you’re there. The VA, the MTF’s, and then
the resources in the area? “Hey I’m in your area, and I’m
working with your people.” “The people that are supposed to be–”
Not supposed to be. But, “could be coming to you.” Create a dialogue with them
and let them know. Where do I go if
something comes up? Just start that relationship with them.
I think that would be good.Jeremy.So I’ll stay on this very practical theme, of what we could provide
as guidance to groups like yours. I certainly agree with
everything that’s been said. There’s also a growing awareness that
some of the core skills you need, when you’re in the community– I’m talking about working at that
base of the pyramid. People are mostly okay,
most of the time. But could get triggered
by something, even though they’re not
severely distressed. UCLA Arts and Health Program has been
looking at this for a while. They’ve developed a training program. A 20 or 30 hour, I don’t know
exactly what it is, training program. Mostly for artists, who want to
work in various group activities. To just train them in facilitation skills. Recognizing something that
may be a problem, and refer it out. Again, let’s stay away from the binary. Which is either someone’s really sick,
and they need a therapist. Or then maybe we just ignore them, or provide fairly
non-provocative conversations. The risk you run with a
non-provocative conversation is, it will miss it. It’ll miss the opportunity
to really connect and share. I think we’re going to see other ways
to put safety into these senarios. Some of it could be these relatively– You know, almost
certificate programs. There’s an enormous amount
of positive energy from the art world. The artists want
to get involved. By the way, it’s not
just for veterans. It’s with older adults,
with caregivers, with minorities. There’s a lot of trauma out there. If we require that you be a
licensed therapist to deal with trauma? We’re going to be behind.Yeah. While you have the mic.A quick question.Your research around loneliness.What I was hearing and connecting to,
and I want to make sure I got it right–
Is that community is actually
a kind of treatment for loneliness.
The elements of this work
that create community,
are actually at the core of–Absolutely. Yes. If the illness,
so to speak metaphorically, is loneliness? What’s the antidote? And it’s connection.
And connection at an authentic level. And it very much ties to what we’ve been
talking about for the last day and a half.Great. Michelle was hoping for the mic–But I have one behind me
here, too. Sorry. Nolan.
Okay, I think I heard Sam. Your question
about how to partner out a little bit. I think that you have to use the
creativity that you have as individuals. And not only start from a local setting. For example, your colleges get a seat
on the presidential board, of the Department of
Higher Education, in your towns. In your state. Then move out to
the American Legions, the vet centers. And then also establish
a task force committee. Bring in,invitethe community
into your organization. And it really works.Great. Thank you.Test one. Working? Yeah.That’s a great comment. I’d just like to
tie into that, plus the previous comment.
So the question kind of precedes
this idea of resource, right? There’s a need for resource. The point that I have observed is that
there’s resource on both sides. Of the arts community. But there’s also a
resource on the military side. And this is why I think
connection is so critical. Often I share with Marita this idea that, what you’re really trying to do in
bridging the two communities is really– I did a short piece for, I think Jane. Create an organic ecosystem that becomes
self fulfilling and self sustaining. But this is what I think
from a structural perspective. I’m just going to label it
Local Arts Agency. Because it could be, really anyone. Someone has to, from a
community perspective say, “Who’s going to take the initiative to” “start drawing this
organic ecosystem together?” So if I’m out there,
an artist doing something, I have a resource I can go to and say yes. This, to your question about endorsement. It doesn’t become
an endorsement issue then. It becomes an awareness of
where those resources are, if I find myself in a gap, right? The second point of this,
about the connection, is that once you do that it enables
the military to peep into that, and see how their resources
could also be tapped. And fulfill it on the
other end of the spectrum. I think this whole idea of
creating an organic ecosystem, where it becomes self fulfilling,
and also self sustaining. And structurally those things
can be easily implemented. That’s more of a long term community
engagement connection perspective.And tomorrow, when we get
into these breakout groups,
the degree to which you guys can detail
some of the networks that you know.
Or some of the programs that you know.That’s going to be helpful
to capture at tomorrow’s breakouts.
Yeah, Dr. Wong.Just briefly, on the civilian side here
in Boston we have something called,
the Boston Arts Consortium for Health.It’s a sort of a grassroots group
of about seven years of age now. But we have people from
Berkley School of Music, New England Conservatory, the Museum of Fine Arts,
the medical schools and universities. We’re all sharing knowledge. The neuroscientist knows stuff,
that the clinicians need to know. And now, the city of Boston
is looking into its departments, to see what arts programs
are in their own departments. In addition, there is a program
at the VA called My Life, My Story. Where they’re getting
the stories of the veterans. and just slipping it
into the charts of the patients. It’s a nonclinical story. But it gives somebody a lot more
insight and empathy into them. I think the whole thing
about getting stories, and across a wide network– is something that’s really replicable
in other communities.Great. And Rebecca had a–I just wanted to
point out that the, Boston Arts Consortium for Health
is the acronym of Bach. Since we’re talking
about acronyms today. Music nerd, sorry. I just wanted to go back to
the continuum of a comment, that you were saying before
Dr. Wong, at the table. And Dr. Engel, about
whether it’s artwork, that’s really informing psychological
health and behavioral health rands. Or whether it’s those
musicians in Music War, that are practicing, or in music therapy. Practiciing something.
And their motivation. The arts are very powerful.
Also, very motivating. And just really understanding
how we inform ourselves, in the medical community. But how– An art exhibit. A display. Those strategic selected masks that were
put into National Geographic. Like you said that comment. That a simple mask,
which could be complex or simple. Can paint a picture and you
really get to know that person. I think just tying into
our artistry, as visual artists. As theater, dancers,
musicians, poets, writers. The power of performance, and how we can
use performance to really inform, that gap we were talking about in the
previous panel, The Military-Civilian Gap. How, through the power of performance,
we can inform each other. We can inform veterans as
participants or audience members. And we can inform communities at large.Um hmm. Judy.I just want to say that– I’m Judy Smith from
Access Dance Co. in Oakland. That I think there’s a really
big resource that’s being missed here. And it’s the disability community. Especially for veterans with disabilities. My experience is that the veterans
are not taking advantage, of the information and
the wealth of knowledge, available through
independent living resources, and other disability organizations. Because a lot of us have been
living with this shit for, you know 30 years, 40 years. And we know a lot about
how to navigate disability, and how to navigate accessibility. I would encourage people to start looking
towards the disability community. Because, you know.
We were in Siberia in 1995, and having some issues getting
my wheelchair batteries charged. Decided we’d put them in a Fiat and drive
them around for the day, and then swap them out at night. And Bonnie, who’s one of
our original founding members said disability is actually
the mother of invention.Very nice.*Yeah, this one. He’s back there,
sorry I can’t see you.” Thank you. Thank you Judy. I’m Madeline, from the Flynn Center. I wanted to thank this group. It’s really been the session that’s
blown it up, out of the edges for me. Because, I’ve been thinking a lot
and having a hard time commenting, because I don’t feel like an expert. In the military or veteran community.
I have, my father’s a veteran but– I drag him to modern dance,
so I’ve already got that. This was really the session
that made it feel like, this works for every community,
not just military and veterans. And what Judy said. One thing we’re working on at the Flynn
is working on accessibility, with different communities
in the disability– Different populations
in the disability community. And one thing we’ve been
working on is audiences. Kids and adults on the spectrum. One thing we’ve noticed that is,
is that all the adaptations, and things we’ve have done, have made it
wonderful for these populations. But more inclusive
for all of our audiences. So it’s really become universal, become that ecosystem
that you were talking about. That organic ecosystem that’s growing. I really wanted to thank everybody
for this session, that’s starting to seep it out into, all of those other disenfranchised
communities that we’re– As arts presenters, as artists, as– Are trying to connect with.I’d like to ask the group a question.This table started with
the land acknowledgement,
which we had done yesterday.And then sang the national anthem.And I’d love to hear responses.Yeah.Colleen Jennings-Rogansac from
Arizona State University, Gammage. It was really interesting to me
because I’m a Rotarian. Every Friday we have lunch,
we sing the Star Spangled Banner. But I used to always sit
next to Dimitre Dorvochevski. He’s a classical violinist, from Paris.
His father died in the camps. He and his sibling– He escaped.
His brother escaped. The rest of the family was killed. And we would sing that song, and Dimitre
would whisper in my ear. We got to the end
“With liberty and justice for all,” and he would whisper, “Almost.” And whenever I hear
the Star Spangled Banner, I hear Dimitre whisper in my ear. And it’s both a comment of condemnation. But it’s also a comment of hope. That we’re not there yet,
but we’re going to get there. I want to thank you
for letting us say that, but I know we all come to
the Star Spangled Banner, with a lot of different feelings.Yeah. And that’s why
I want to bring them in.
Keeta has her hand up.
Anybody behind me? And Margret.
That was a very difficult
moment for me, personally. As an indigenous person,
I love the beauty of the song. I also, I come from a family of singers. So the difficulty of
that piece technically, resonates with me very highly. But it was very difficult. And I think I was the only person
in the room who did not stand. You didn’t– Well, who was
physically able to stand. And who did not stand. Because that was a moment
of conflict for me, personally. Just to– I acknowledge what you’re saying
and I have that moment inside, too. Although I did stand,
and I love to sing it. But the last time I sang it, was last month
in my own community. During a large, for Hanover, march against
the immigration ban. And as we ended the march and took over
the entire Dartmouth green, holding hands in a gigantic circle. A young man in a beefed up truck drove by
with his windows open, blasting that song. Which we instantly all began
to sing, with him.I’m Rob Richter from
Connecticut College and when we–
the Star Spangled Banner,I can’t remember the last time
I’ve heard it or sung it.
So it was jarring for me. And seated next to Keeta
I almost wanted– I debated standing. It was sort of, do I? It was a decision that had to be made. And looking around the room. Hand to heart, and I had
my hands in my pocket. And I’m like, am I being inappropriate? So it was an interesting,
thought provoking moment.Captain McGuire, can I ask you?
How did these comments–
I mean this must come up.
How does this resonate for you?
What would be your comment about it?Again, these are my own personal thoughts
and don’t represent in any way– I actually love it. Because someone mentioned,
I think, earlier today– Or maybe it was Maurice. The hesitation in expressing
views that were contrary. To the way they’re presented
through the military, and that it might be unpatriotic. And I thought to myself,
there’s nothing more patriotic, right? Than pushing and questioning, and saying
hold on a minute, no way, hell no. And so for us it is–
I do, I love singing. We sing all the time. I’m always looking
for an opportunity to do it. I’ll sing anything.
And of course, we start all of our ceremonies with
the Star Spangled Banner. It’s just a part of the military culture. But it’s very true that a lot
of people don’t actively think, about what that experience
is like for other people.I had something to say.
That’s why I’m holding on.
I’m going to take it from you
for the moment,
for someone who hasn’t spoken yet.Here, and then we’ll go there.
Sorry, I’m going to–
From the perspective of an army musician,I’ve been singing the
national anthem for 11 years,
and it came to a point in my career
where it was like brushing your teeth. Something that you do every day. It’s like a ritual, and it just happens. And there’s no feelings.
It’s off-the-cuff. It just happens. So, it was natural for
a long time. And it was– I mean, if you are in uniform
and you don’t salute, and you don’t recognize
the flag during the anthem. Or whenever you’re supposed
to recognize the flag, or render a hand salute– It’s like burning the flag.
It’s totally taboo, you don’t do it. You will get pinned down for it. And then I was a first responder, in the Boston Marathon bombings, and the next– Three days later, I was forced
to sing the national anthem, at Fenway Park, down the street. With a crowd of people around me, and they announced that
I was one of the first responders. And I’m in uniform, and I’m just
having all of these emotions. Because of what I had just been through, and since that day it has just
never been the same for me. So I struggle with being
a person in the military, and also being in the civilian world
with when I hear that. It will never be the same again, and I’m sure a lot of veterans in the room
have the same experience.Could I get the mic here.One here, one here, and then we’ll
go back there, and over there.
Real quick, I’ve got a
similar question about the liminality, of being in the civilian world
and being a veteran that you, your still connected
to the military through your past. But you’re also living
in the civilian world, and so you have no real
present claim on being military. And every time I hear
the Star Spangled Banner, my question is do I put
my hand on my heart? Do I salute? What am I– Where is my position in this? Of course, as a scholar and
a critical thinker I’ve also got all of, the implications of what
the Star Spangled Banner is for Native– For African-American. For all of the different implications
that it has over the colonialist meanings. And so there is.
It stirs up a lot of emotion, but at the same time it is
an automatic response at this point. It’s something that I grew up with. And it’s something that,
as a military person, every single day at 6:30 you were
standing, waiting for Reveille to go off. And to stand at attention.
All of these things that happened, that kind of build these
automatic responses in your body. So it is. It’s a liminality. It’s a position of liminality
that I haven’t quite digested yet.I didn’t expect this issue
to come up here.
But it’s one of the hardest issues
of my personal transition,
from service member,
22 years in the uniform,
to being what I am today. One of the things is retiree. We can wear our uniforms
at formal functions and things. And our ribbons. I had made a decision to
never wear the uniform again. I’ve dedicated my life to serving. In uniform and out of
the uniform and the military. Yet I don’t feel I should
ever wear the uniform again. I keep one in the closet
for at my funeral, if I– I don’t know why, but I do. The other point about
the national anthem. It was just a professional ritual. It was never a thought. Something that’s part of
the culture, the profession. I took an oath to that. Now I’m outside of my oath,
I have since internalized that song. I have faces of soldiers that I had known,
loved, and fought with that died. That song now is a testiment to them. Not what it necessarily was
about the country, or it’s founding. To me that’s a tribute song to
three specific people that I’m– And that helps me get through song. And then honor it. So I touch my heart, because I’m
touching them, not doing a rote ritual.Can you pass that down?
Here, it’s coming down to you.
Then I had Mike and Victoria
will be the next two.
Oh, I missed you back there, yeah.So can you give that back to him,
then we’ll go Mike and–
The reason I struggle with hierarchy,
is it’s singular.
And when it flips, it’s still singular. I think what we’re hearing here
is that each of us, we’re so much more than a singular. So when things happen, how do we handle
the multiplicity of who we are? You didn’t leave the room, Keeta.
You stayed in the room. And that to me is the
expression of community. It’s not that we’re all going
to do the same thing, at the same time,
in precisely the same way. It’s that we agree to be
in here and work that out. I’m Jewish, raised by
an adamantly ecstatic Jewish father. Who, at christmas time he would say, “Okay, don’t sing the
christmas carols. Just sit there.” Then he relented. He said, “Okay you can sing,
but don’t say the word Jesus.” This took like four years. Then, I’m old enough and many people– Some people in this room remember when, the Pledge of Allegiance,
they added “under God.” Now my father totally
believed in God, but not in school. So then we had to not say that part,
but we could say the other part. But I see that as a education in nuance. And a commitment to participation. So for me, the fact that people wanted
to sing that was such a beautiful thing. And I felt I could stand,
I didn’t need to sing. But this is the practice of living in
this circular, horizontal world. To allow us to be
those multiple selves, I think.Let’s go back there. [Inaudible]My views on service and
freedom have changed a bit, since leaving the Army 10 years ago. I’ve kind of grown to wonder. Those who defend freedom?
What those freedoms are? Who those freedoms are for? I was part of the veterans
for Standing Rock. A group that went to
North Dakota in December.Thank you.And it was a very powerful experience. It was, it felt like a hallowed ground. It was– I don’t even know
how to explain it. It was community on another level,
that I had never experienced before. One thing I noticed quickly
was how patriotic. The Native Americans, the Lakota– I met indigenous folks from
all over the world, but– They were extremely patriotic. I saw more Marine Corps hats
at Standing Rock, than any other veteran group
or place I’ve ever been in. What I felt was this idea
of coming together, and what community means. I felt that when we did that here. But this idea of questioning. It makes me, with my
personal experiences, wonder. Is that good or bad,
or right or wrong? I’m trying to make peace with
the idea that questioning is okay. I just wanted to share that. I was surprised that that came up,
and that we were going to sing– I’m sorry. Did I step on s– That the song came up, and we were going
to sing it, and we sang it. I personally, sing it and put
my hand to my heart, because my dad served in the military. He was in Germany for four years
and he was in the Marine Corps Reserve. But, I wanted to say that– I want to honor
every single opinion, on what happened in this room. And it is an example for me, the stark– What hit me in talking about this is,
this is a very clear, stark example– To put in more political terms,
what Liz just said. of– This is exactly the forum,
the kind of forums, we need to create out in the community
outside of our arts community. Where it’s okay not to have
the same opinion. We’re not screaming at each other. But I completely respect
the opinions I’ve heard. For me it’s, United States of America, love it or leave it? No. Love it or change it. To your point. Several times
over the past day. And also to Colleen’s point,
it gave me some hope. Because that’s the kind
of discourse we should create, everywhere we possibly can. Because healthy democracy
needs all these different voices. It was hopeful.I just want to thank you all for
this experience of being in community.
And I just wanted to add that David, your question about
the experience feels to me, like one of those exercises of what
it means to make art together. That singing in that moment is an
enactment of a ritual in which, again. We have all had so many
different experiences. But a catalyst then,
to bring us together, in that very process of
differentiation and sharing. So, thank you for that.Can I just say
one thing really quickly?
The interesting thing is,the original plan was for Rebecca
and Melissa and I to sing.
And then Lisa said,
“Oh, I’ve got my violin.” We’d even picked out the key
that we were going to sing in. So we weren’t envisioning it as singalong. So then when everybody
stood up I was like, “Well isn’t this interesting.” And I do think it’s interesting. I think it happened for the
exact reason that it should have. And I think it also speaks to
the beauty of this event today. This has been–
I go to these events a lot. This has been one of the most significant, and genuine experiences that I,
perhaps have ever had. Within the arts and
military conversation. It is just– And it is hopeful. Because of
that genuine quality, that people can say
exactly what they want. That’s patriotism. And it’s just been
a beautiful experience. Thank you everybody.-We’re going to break here.
-Oh no, that’s just me.
We have to break here, so continue
this conversation with each other.
But part of the reason
that I wanted to make sure,
we discussed it is because
it’s really at the core.
Part of how we’re
diverse in this room.
Even though we all agree
on the value of art. There are lots of different opinions about
many things related to the subject. Thank you all for
engaging the conversation. Thank you for your attention.

, , , , ,

Post navigation

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *