Veterans Show Off Artwork at Fargo’s Veterans Creative Arts Festival

Veterans presented various works they've made through art therepy to help treat their post-traumatic stress

FARGO, N.D. — Post-traumatic stress disorder is all too common among veterans, but one way to ease some of the pain is through art therapy.

Some local veterans who use this method showed off their best work at the Fargo VA Medical Center.

More than 40 artists submitted about 70 pieces of artwork for this exhibition.

The pieces fall under a wide range of categories.

Some are abstract, some practical.

There’s everything from wood carving to painting to sculpting.

In some works, the connection is clear, but others are a bit more subtle in their patriotic routes.

Many of the artists suffer from PTSD and art serves as a way to help cope.

“If you focus more on things that you’re grateful for or beautiful images of a duck landing on water or things like that then that can change your outlook on life as well,” said Recreation Therapist and event organizer Kim Douglas.

Every piece here was made by a veteran and each veteran has their own story.

Harry Moshier is one of those veterans.

He served in Vietnam.

“I got over there in 1968 and left the in July on 1969,” said Moshier.

When he came home, the emotional injuries from his time in combat began to make themselves known.

“We’d come back and you were busy. But in retirement, it creeps back to haunt you,” said Moshier.

That was until he discovered a new passion.

“I took an Adult Ed class in watercolors and it brought back all the memories of when I was in high school and I had art class and how much I enjoyed it,” said Moshier.

That was 13 years ago.

For Harry, art isn’t so much a reflection of his inner emotions.

Instead, it acts as an escape from those hard memories of the past.

His paintings are positive images he takes from his memories and brings to life.

“What attracted me to it was that it basically has a double reflection,” he said about one of his paintings.

Of course with art there are opportunities for some creative license.

“Then when I was all done I decided that maybe I should add a duck,” he added with a laugh.

He said when he goes to bed, he’s thinking about the world he’s created.

“This is what I’d rather think about at night,” said Moshier.

For other veterans struggling with PTSD, he said he endorses the value in finding a positive distraction.

“I can only talk for myself. That this is an excellent way to go,” said Moshier.

The pieces were looked at by a panel of judges and winners in each category will go on to the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival in Buffalo New York.

The overall winner of the competition was Lucas Schultz for his piece, “The 6,907”.

Harry took first prize in the fine art and mixed medium category.

If you want to find out how to support local art therapy for veterans, contact Karinn R. Davidson with the Fargo VA Health Care System.

She can be reached by calling (701)-410-9723 or via E-mail at karinn.davidson@va.gov.

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