Bihl Haus Arts (BHA), collaborating with Vet TRIIP, both located in
San Antonio, Texas, has launched an innovative program offering
professionally taught drawing and painting classes to veterans who are
experiencing depression or are clinically or self-diagnosed with
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The mission of Forward, Arts! is
to offer veterans opportunities for healing, wellness and community through engagement in the arts.
The need for veteran services in San Antonio is great. More than 2.6 million veterans have served in the Middle East since 9/11. Each year 7,000 service members, 15% of them women, transition out of the military at Joint Base San Antonio. More than half decide to stay in Bexar County. Overall, an estimated three in ten have PTSD, Traumatic Brain Injury and/or major depression. During the past two years, more active service men and women have lost their lives from suicide than from combat. Each day, 22 American vets end their own lives. BHA’s new Forward, Arts! program aims to help ease veterans’ emotional and physical pains through arts immersion
The potential for healing that comes through hands-on, creative engagement with art—in this case, painting and drawing—is proven. While BHA’s pilot class is a pioneering endeavor in San Antonio, it emerged from national military initiatives in the arts and BHA’s nationally recognized arts program.