Beckley VA Hosts Inaugural Veterans’ Art Show

BECKLEY, W.Va. (WOAY) – The Beckley VA Medical Center hosted their first art show to allow veterans to show off their hard work and talent.

The art on display fit into a variety of genres. Veterans created woodworking projects, paintings, poetry and more. Throughout the event, the public was invited to view the artwork and vote on their favorite pieces.

The VA said they were looking into scheduling more in the future and expanding the event so more can participate and the artists can possibly sell some of their work.

“We get a lot of requests for things they’ve done such as woodworking and paintings, poetry, creative writing—and it’s a way to help them cope,” said peer support specialist J. R. Robinson. “Some of our mental health groups talk about wanting to share that and for other people to see. We thought ‘what better way to do that than have an art show?’”

Robinson said most veterans he interacts with has or has had a mental health condition such as anxiety, depression or even PTSD. He said engaging in the arts helps them cope.

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Kassie Simmons joined the team in January 2019 as a weekend journalist. She graduated from Virginia Tech in just two and a half years with a BA in multimedia journalism. During her short time at Virginia Tech, she served as the editor for the university’s chapter of The Tab. Kassie was named the top reporter for The Tab at Virginia Tech on multiple occasions and made the list for the top 30 reporters for The Tab in the U.S. She also studied theater performance and minored in creative writing. Before coming to WOAY, Kassie interned at WSLS in Roanoke and the Tidewater Review in her hometown of West Point, Va. She has loved following breaking news since her childhood and has a passion for delivering the stories people care most about. Kassie is excited to be working in Southern West Virginia and looks forward to all the adventures ahead of her. You can follow her on Twitter at @KassieLSimmons and like her page on Facebook. If you have a story you think she should check out, send her an email at ksimmons@woay.com.