ArtsQuest to Receive $10,000 Creative Forces Community Engagement Grant

Activities Will Support Women Veterans and Their Families.

Bethlehem, PA, June 22, 2023 – ArtsQuest is one of 34 organizations nationwide selected to receive a Creative Forces® Community Engagement grant. This grant of $10,000 will support ArtsQuest’s partnership with Women Veterans Empowered & Thriving (WVE&T) to provide multiple non-clinical arts engagement activities that support women veterans. Creative Forces Community Engagement Grants are part of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Creative Forces® initiative and are in partnership with Mid-America Arts Alliance.

“We are excited to witness how these arts engagement activities have the power to enhance the health and well-being of our military and veteran populations,” said Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts. “These Creative Forces Community Engagement projects are vital in helping to improve the quality of life for military-connected people, bolster health equity through the arts, and build healthy communities where all people can thrive.”

Creative Forces®: NEA Military Healing Arts Network is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs that seeks to improve the health, well-being, and quality of life for military and veteran populations exposed to trauma, as well as their families and caregivers. Creative Forces Community Engagement grants will increase access to arts activities in more communities and will serve a broad population, including active-duty service members, guardsmen, reservists, veterans and military and veteran families, as well as caregivers and healthcare workers providing care for military service members and veterans.

“Women Veterans Empowered and Thriving is excited to be partnering with ArtsQuest to support women veterans, male veterans and their families and caretakers through empowerment workshops, ritual storytelling, films and panel discussions,” Jenny Pacanowski, Founder and Director of Women Veterans Empowered & Thriving, said. “Ancient warrior cultures welcomed their military members home with ritual storytelling; it was a reintegration, a reconnection to the community. WVE&T invites the public to cultivate a space to share our experiences, empower ourselves and become a society that supports our veterans by listening to them.” 

ArtsQuest and Women Veterans Empowered & Thriving are thrilled to provide these arts engagement activities for women veterans, their family members, and educate the community with question-and-answer sessions following the presentation of veteran themed films, spoken word performances by women veteran poets. exhibition of various artworks of Women veteran artists during the film presentations; and education and outreach events.

“We’re excited to continue our partnership with Women Veterans Empowered & Thriving,” said Eric Bauder, Senior Events Manager at ArtsQuest. “We’re thankful for the support of the Creative Forces Grant to allow both ArtsQuest and WVET to collaborate and provide free arts and cultural programming for Veterans, their families and the community at large.”

These programs will begin July 1, 2023, and continue until June 30, 2024. Education and outreach will include empowerment workshops during ArtSmart with older students for six to eight weeks and students’ work will be featured during First Friday events. Film screenings with panel discussions are free to the public and will be announced closer to their dates. Additionally, ritual storytelling will be held at the Frank Banko Alehouse Cinema with an exhibition in the hallway of Women Veterans’ artwork in April of 2024.

“This year’s partnership between ArtsQuest and WVET will include a robust educational program that will encourage students from around our region to interact with veterans and learn about their experiences through storytelling, performance and art,” Lisa Harms, Senior Director of Arts and Education said.

Todd Stein, President and CEO of Mid-America Arts Alliance, said, “We’ve seen how art can create new bonds of connection and understanding through the Creative Forces Community Engagement projects, especially for those in our military communities who may feel isolated and alone. We are honored to partner with the National Endowment of the Arts on this grant program, and we are continually inspired by the power of these projects to deliver hope and healing to our service members, veterans, and their families.”

By providing opportunities for engaging in art or artmaking, ArtsQuest seeks to help participants gain a better understanding of themselves and others through creative expression, while increasing their sense of belonging to our community. Participation in the arts often leads to individual and shared sense of purpose, as well as positive self-worth, supporting their ability to adapt and readjust to life’s challenges.

For more information on other projects included in this grant announcement as well as resources for arts engagement with military-connected populations, visit

About ArtsQuest
ArtsQuest’s mission is to provide access to exceptional artistic, cultural and educational experiences using arts and culture as key elements of economic development for our urban communities. ArtsQuest™ supports this mission via the presentation of performing and visual arts, film, arts education classes and outreach, youth programming and cultural events. Through festivals such as its flagship event, Musikfest; the Banana Factory Arts Center; and the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks arts and cultural campus, ArtsQuest’s programming reaches more than 1.9 million people annually. The organization’s programs and events, of which over 50% are free to attend, have a combined economic impact of more than $136 million annually in the region.

About Women Veterans Empowered & Thriving 
Women Veterans Empowered & Thriving is a reintegration program for women veterans that utilizes writing and performance to empower them to thrive in their daily life. We guide women Veterans to reconnect with their mind, body, soul and passion for life. Through creativity, compassion and camaraderie in a nonjudgmental space, we empower each other to ascend to the best version of ourselves. WVE&T has now opened its success programming to male veterans and support members of vets (family, caretakers and practitioners). 

About the Creative Forces Initiative
Creative Forces®: NEA Military Healing Arts Network is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs. The initiative seeks to improve the health, well-being; and quality of life for military and veteran populations exposed to trauma, as well as their families and caregivers. Creative Forces is managed in partnership with Americans for the Arts, the Henry M. Jackson Foundation for the Advancement of Military Medicine; and Mid-America Arts Alliance. More information can be found at and

About the National Endowment for the Arts
Established by Congress in 1965, the National Endowment for the Arts is an independent federal agency that is the largest funder of the arts and arts education in communities nationwide and a catalyst of public and private support for the arts. By advancing equitable opportunities for arts participation and practice, the NEA fosters and sustains an environment in which the arts benefit everyone in the United States. To learn more, visit or follow us on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and YouTube.

About Mid-America Arts Alliance
Mid-America Arts Alliance (M-AAA) strengthens and supports artists, cultural organizations, and communities throughout our region and beyond. To learn more about M-AAA grants, programs, exhibitions; and fellowships, visit and follow us on FacebookInstagram, Twitter and LinkedIn.