VA New Jersey Health Care System
Veteran Creative Arts Festival viewing held at VA
A viewing of the entries in the annual Veterans Creative Arts Festival was held at the VA New Jersey Health Care System’s Lyons campus April 11.
A total of 72 Veteran artists submitted their works for the annual festival and competition.
“Thank you for sharing your talents with us,” said Vincent Immiti, VA New Jersey Health Care System director. “Every year, I’m more and more impressed with what I see. I’m impressed with the talent and I’m also impressed that this is therapeutic.”
The works on display included painting, sculptures, carvings, creative writing, and musical compositions.
The first-place winners of the local competition will go on to compete in the national Veterans Creative Arts Festival.
Gina Serrano-Frans, one of the Veteran artists that entered her work, earned first place in glasswork and said that the Creative Arts Festival was beneficial for Veterans because she felt it was important for them to have an outlet to express themselves creatively.
“We have these contests, but it’s not a competition,” Serrano-Frans said. “It’s about sharing the fact that people appreciate that you’ve finally come and shared yourself with others.”
Serrano-Frans said that she started working with glass this year. She had previously worked on assembling beadwork, but someone suggested that she learn to make her own beads. She learned to manipulate the glass and add color to it while it was still glowing hot.
“It took me four hours to make two beads,” Serrano-Frans said. “But when it cooled off, you’re amazed that all of the colors are there.”
Serrano-Frans said that she feels very positive about her participations in the Creative arts Festival and would encourage more Veterans to take part.
“Every time I see Veterans, I always tell them that it doesn’t matter what you can do because we have poetry, creative writing, music, painting and sculpture. A lot of different things,” Serrano-Frans said.