Veterans explore healing power of art


Therapy with a paint brush.

Quad Cities veterans are using art to heal the mental and physical wounds of war. 

Random Acts of Veterans hosted Burgers, Beer and Bob Ross as part of their monthly buddy check event to help veterans take part in activities out in the community, so they socialize and not isolate at home.

Leo Kaalberg told Local 4 News this is their third buddy check event providing different opportunities that might not explore on their own.

They partnered with QC Veterans Art Initiative to host the night.

The Initiative’s founder told Local 4 News art helped him recover from PTSD and other trauma. 

QC Veterans Art Initiative Co-President Ken Cunningham said, “Denied my family of seeking help for a decade and I just spiraled, and then I started art at St. Ambrose to get my bachelor’s degree. People said I was like a whole new person when I started. Art heals.”

Cunningham said this could provide an alternative to solely relying on medication treatment by tapping into the creative part of the brain. 

They host workshops for veterans, active duty service members and hope to grow their programs.

Random Acts of Veterans also used Friday night’s event as a way to help to provide funding for QC Veterans Art Initiative, which recently received its non-profit status. 

Random Acts of Veterans also said this art therapy event is one they might make re-occurring. 

Kaalberg is also working on a veterans garden in the Quad Cities. 

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