Amanda Sullivan, ARTillery
Amanda Sullivan has lost many friends serving in the US armed forces, and most recently lost a Marine and lifelong friend to suicide. “Our veterans are committing suicide at an astounding rate of 22 per day,” says Amanda, “more often because they don’t know how to cope and they can’t access resources fast enough”. This inspired Amanda, who was an art major in college, to create ARTillery, a free art therapy program for US veterans.
Amanda not only designed this program to search and navigate challenging issues that veterans face, but also to teach art as a way of life and a powerful coping skill. ARTillery, offered free of charge, proved its impact during a 8 week pilot program. The Program was identified as the first and only free art therapy program for veterans in the State of Massachusetts. Amanda continued the program throughout the summer, and together with a college friend and artist, taught different therapeutic projects and established peer support groups which nurtured new friendships and a ‘pay it forward’ mentality while healing. Amanda also shares the art on social media, allowing people nationwide to access it.
This grant will help Amanda establish a weekly class for families. Amanda’s hope is that her mission of ‘Loving Veterans to Life’ will catch on around the country. She hopes others will realize that art doesn’t require talent or skill, it can be carried out regardless of the ability level, and even with a prosthetic- there is always healing impact!
GRANT AWARD DATE: August 31, 2015