WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — What does a brave heart look like? That’s what’s visibly on display at the Armory Art Center in West Palm Beach.
Thirty-five works created by veteran artists express the financial and emotional cost of freedom. And the exhibit is part of a program to rehabilitate veterans 365 days a year. Rahm Levinson, a US Army veteran served two tours in Iraq as an infantryman and he says the scars of war still run deep.
”During my second tour I was hit by three improvised explosive devices and luckily not a scratch on me - but the percussion of the blast really did a toll on me,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of problems sleeping, focusing, and doing what I used to do.”
And he said his PTSD was triggered by the social unrest sparked in the summer of 2020. ”Let’s not make our county a war zone,” Levinson said. “I’ve been to a war zone and it’s not pretty and I’d like to see more positive change in this country in a more positive way.”
He’s one of the various veteran artists from numerous wars behind BraveHeARTS, a multimedia exhibit through a partnership with the Armory Art Center and the West Palm Beach VA Medical Center on display through Nov. 21.
The exhibit is free and open to the public Tuesday – Friday 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.; Saturday 10:00 a.m. – noon. Facial coverings and temperature checks required.
Visitors to BraveHeARTS are invited to peruse the gallery, taking in the diverse collection of unique works created from an exciting, virtual collage class, hosted by the Armory.
”You can look at the pieces and tell where their soul is,” said Dr. Tom Pearson, Armory Art Center executive director. “This program involves pairing a veteran with a therapist and an art teacher. Each of the vets is treated individually as they move in their recovery. We’re giving them the tools to be productive in society.”
To date, through a partnership with the Veteran’s Administration, there have been more than 250 veterans who have been working with Armory instructors and mental health therapists.
”A lot of the work that we do with art therapy at Veterans Affairs happens behind the closed doors of the therapeutic space,” said Sara Windrem, ms, ATR-BC, LMHC, Veterans Affairs Medical Center of West Palm creative arts therapist. “Realize that Veterans Day may happen one day a year, but for us, every day is Veterans Day.”
To support the Armory Art Center's Healing Arts Programs, click here or contact Natalie Beck at 561- 832-1776 x100.
Veterans should contact Sara Windrem, Creative Arts Therapist, VA Medical Center in West Palm Beach at 561-662-2254 for pre-approval and enrollment.