InkSpired Magazine Issue No. 42 - Page 48

InkSpired Story The Art of War Project: Helping Veterans Through Art THE ART OF WAR PROJECT: HELPING VETERANS THROUGH ART Interview: Cameron Cowan / Photography: Marla Keown Curtis Bean, a veteran who was helped by art therapy brings the practice to Denver, is confident when we speak. Curtis is the mastermind of The Art of War Project, a unique nonprofit supported by donations and small grants, helping veterans process their PTSD and war experiences through the crucible of art. He knows first hand the horrors of the War on Terror and the massive operations the US military has been performing Iraq and Afghanistan for the past 15 years. He served for two and a half years in Iraq in a combat role as a scout and a sniper. In those roles, a man can see many horrible things and have experiences that are far from the normal everyday experiences of most of humanity. Curtis found an art program to help treat his PTSD. He started to paint in interesting, layered abstract expressionist styles. Military and veterans affairs have used a variety of medication to create “zombies” (as Curtis put it) out of veterans returning from the war. Rather than actually dealing with the problem, many veterans have been subject to this pharmaceutical bypassing. This has left many veterans with lots of pain and emotions, and has manifested itself in a variety of destructive ways ranging from drug abuse and alcoholism to domestic violence and suicide. The response from the military hasn’t been as enlightened as what private solutions like the Art of War Project has created. Curtis talks about how veterans need “options” and the ability to use a variety of tools, including medical marijuana, to help treat their symptoms and finding a place of healing and hope. Although the Art of War 46 Project doesn’t have any current efforts involving medical marijuana, Curtis was in full and open support of t