Veterans Showcase Talent at National Veterans Creative Arts Festival

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Oct. 3, 2003)- Veterans from across the country will be in
Oklahoma City, Oct. 6-12, for the 2003 National Veterans Creative Arts
Festival. The festival is the culmination of a year-long fine arts
competition open to all veterans receiving care at Department of Veterans
Affairs (VA) medical facilities.

"The National Veterans Creative Arts Festival demonstrates that healing goes
well beyond a person's physical recovery. Creative arts therapy plays an
important role in the rehabilitation of the mind as well as the spirit,"
said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony J. Principi.

"VA is proud to give veterans the opportunity to develop their artistic
talents, while improving their overall health and well-being," Principi
said. "Helping them live rich, fulfilling and meaningful lives after trauma
or disease is what this Festival is all about."

At the 2003 Festival, more than 120 talented veterans, first-place winners
selected from nearly 3,000 competitors nationwide, will be in Oklahoma City
for a week of workshops and rehearsals. The week will culminate on Sunday,
Oct. 12, with a stage show and art exhibit at the Rose State College
Performing Arts Center in Midwest City, Okla. Beginning at 2 p.m., the
music, drama and dance performers will showcase their talent at the stage
show, accompanied by a professional orchestra. Artists will exhibit their
work in the lobby of the Rose State College Performing Arts Center after the

Film actress Bo Derek, honorary chairperson for VA's National Rehabilitation
Special Events will be in attendance and available for interviews before the
The festival is co-sponsored by VA, the American Legion Auxiliary and Help
Hospitalized Veterans, and hosted by the Oklahoma City VA Medical Center.

For further information during the event, contact Kim Byers, public affairs
coordinator for the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival, at (405)
815-6044. After October 14, call (734) 761-7824. Additional information is
available on the Festival's website: