Renaissance in Waiting: Denver’s Own Veterans Arts Council Rises to the Challenge
After the plague, came the Renaissance. So, what will the next era look like after COVID times? That’s certainly the question many are asking, including the founding members of the Veterans Art Council (VAC) in Denver.
The VAC was created in 2015 by the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1 (VFW Post 1) in Denver, Colorado, and maintains the VFW Post 1’s art gallery at its headquarters, which is one of the largest galleries in the Santa Fe Art District and arguably one of the biggest showcases of veteran artwork nationally.
“Pre-COVID, the gallery saw 40,000 visitors during the First Friday art walks in 2019,” said VAC Director Jim Stevens, who is also an award-winning blind Vietnam veteran artist. “In 2020, the gallery managed to host three art walks with 4,000 visitors before it was forced to close due to the pandemic.”
The VAC encourages the artistic development of veterans by providing resources, workshops, and mentorships. Approximately 150 veterans, 80 percent of whom are disabled veterans, are the engine behind the VAC. They work in tandem to empower veterans through art, with a mission “to transform their experiences into media and contribute to the creative community, a community that enriches civic life for all citizens.” Read more in the Denver Foundation blog.