Springs arts leaders to address how art serves veterans

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Two Colorado Springs arts leaders will be part of a national panel this month addressing the role of the arts in serving veterans’ needs.

Susan Edmondson, executive director of Bee Vradenburg Foundation, and Kim Nguyen, creative program manager at AspenPointe Enterprises, will join two other arts leaders for the session, titled, “Boots to Brushes: The Arts’ Role in Serving Veterans’ Needs.”

The session is part of the 2012 annual convention of Americans for the Arts, the nation’s leading nonprofit for advancing the arts and arts education. More than 1,100 arts administrators, artists and civic leaders from across the country are expected to attend the convention June 8-12 in San Antonio.

Edmondson will facilitate the session, which will include three panelists: Nguyen; Moira McGuire, clinical care coordinator for the Warrior Clinic at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center; and Naj Wikoff, president of Creative Healing Connections and past president of the Society for the Arts in Health Care.

Nguyen uses art therapy and creative processes to work with disadvantaged and disfranchised people. She works closely with the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center to serve veterans returning from the Iraq and Afghanistan wars; the Colorado Springs Veteran Outreach Office and Cottonwood Center for the Arts to serve the veterans of multiple wars; and Fort Carson Survivor Outreach Services to serve fallen soldiers’ families.

“Through the work of Kim and others, Colorado Springs is on the leading edge nationally in how our artists and arts organizations serve the needs of veterans,” Edmondson said. “We’re excited to share the good work going on here at a national level.”