The museum is one of 10 recipients of the grants, which are aimed at helping veterans cope during the pandemic and beyond. The art programs for veterans and their families started out as a pilot, but thanks to the grant, they will now have a permanent home.
The $717,500 grant was distributed by Swim With a Mission, a group that has taken a leading role in distributing $4 million of federal funds to help combat veteran mental health issues and homelessness.
“Art therapy really works, and it is sorely needed in our state,” said Phil Taub, of Swim With a Mission.
Taub said he has seen art make a difference in veterans’ lives, particularly those struggling with issues such as PTSD.
“Art is one of those magical things where, even if you can’t draw or paint or work with clay or sing or dance, just the process of going through that is a way to sort of get that out,” he said.
Museum officials said the program fits perfectly with their mission.
“The Currier isn’t just a museum that you walk in and look at art on the walls, but a vital community organization that makes a difference in lives,” said Steve Duprey, president of the Currier Board of Trustees.
Part of the money will be used to renovate a section of the museum.
“We will be creating new classroom spaces in the lower level of the museum,” said Bruce McColl, the museum’s director of education programs. “These are flexible spaces that are built for access for veterans and family members.”
In all, 10 organizations are receiving funds to help veterans and their families. Easter Seals was also given more than $1 million to support its Veterans Count programs.
Liberty House will be presented Tuesday with a check for more than $1 million as part of an effort to end homelessness amongst veterans.