Breaking News
More () »

Art classes being used as a stress-reliever for veterans and active service members

Art has been becoming more and more of a method to mend wounds, especially for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Mesa Art classes for veterans and active service members. Photo: Ozzy Mora, 12 News

When some people color, it takes their mind to another place. Whether it's a place of relaxation, going over moments in your life, or no thinking at all.

Art is becoming more and more of a method to mend wounds, especially for veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

"I've always been a creative person and learning different types of art, but from water color to sketching, I found that acrylic painting is by far my favorite type of painting," said Travis Anderson, an Army Veteran.

Travis is a veteran who recently served in the Army. He suffers from PTSD and has used painting as an escape for his anger.

"I channel that anger and the frustration into my painting and usually what I paint is anything that I've experienced -- I put it in the painting," said Travis.

He is one of the many who will be participating in the free art classes Mesa Arts Center is offering to only veterans and active service members.

"For the veterans that I've worked with, which is real rewarding to me, but that chance to express things and in a way to escape, is helpful and meaningful," said Ron Bimrose who will teach at Mesa Arts Center and is a Marine veteran.

Ron served in the Marines and became a sergeant. He left the service in 1971.

Now, he will be teaching printmaking class for veterans and active service members.

"When you’re making art, you're nowhere else," said Ron.

"It was certainly different than civilian life and being in Vietnam in the war, I don't know how to describe it," said Ron. "It was something that at one point really, I really thought I put behind me and art helped that."

Arizona is already home to more than 625,000 service members and veterans from all branches, according to Arizona Department of Veterans' Services.

The organization Americans for the Arts says research has shown that arts interventions could help the brain reorganize, adapt, reduce stress and anxiety.

"Doesn't matter if you're a veteran or not, it's something that could enrich your life from birth to the grave," said Ron.

"It would help them not only stay out of trouble, but help them progress mentally and give them a hobby on top dealing with the added stress," said Travis about how arts can help veterans cope with PTSD.

Veterans and service members can register for the classes beginning Sunday, Jan. 14 either online or call 480-644-6520.

It's only for veterans and service members now, but families and friends are encouraged to come to their open house on Saturday, Jan. 13.

Editor's note: An earlier version of this story said that Bimrose suffers from PTSD. He does not suffer from PTSD.