Mesa’s Arts in Service Program for Vets Gets $129K in Grants, Opens Dec. 19

Posted By on November 13, 2019
Veteran participant in Mesa Arts Center’s Arts in Service program tries her hand at jewelry.

Mesa Arts Center has announced the continuation of the Arts in Service program for the winter/spring session of 2020 and beyond, thanks in part to a $75,000 grant received from The Boeing Company and a $54,000 grant from the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.

The program provides creative pathways for veterans and service members to use studio arts experiences in reaching their personal goals, whether those are finding a supportive community, stress relief, working toward overall health and wellness, or pursuing career interests in art making.

“I can’t explain enough how this experience has fully enriched my life,” said one participant. “Doing this has been the utmost positive experience I’ve had in years.” 

The fall 2019 Arts in Service participants will showcase their artwork and be celebrated in a free public reception held Dec. 19 from 5-7 p.m. in Mesa Arts Center’s Art Studios. Registration for the winter/spring 2020 sessions begins on Dec. 6.

To date, over 300 individuals have participated in Arts in Service arts classes offered through the program, which is also generously supported by the Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services. Examples of classes offered through Arts in Service include Intro to Printmaking, Beginning Welding, Beginning Blacksmithing, Introductions to Clay, The Science and Art of Photography, Jewelry (beginning and intermediate), Beginning Bellydancing, and Playwriting among others. 

“I think these programs are really what makes a big difference in veterans and service members lives. It gives them that camaraderie again, it gives them that chance to try something new and challenge themselves,” said Kelly Anne Wilde, Army veteran and Assistant Director of Programs for Arizona Coalition of Military Families.”

“We are so excited to offer these programs and to further engage those who serve our country,” said Cindy Ornstein, Executive Director of Mesa Arts Center. “There is tremendous evidence from both research and experience that the arts offer many kinds of benefits, from reducing feelings of isolation to providing new means of self-expression, in addition to offering fun, relaxation, and creative exploration.”

The winter/spring Arts in Service sessions will begin in January and March 2020. No arts experience is necessary for participants. Winter/spring class offerings will be available at

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