16 female veterans will be shown at an art exhibition

Sixteen women veterans will participate in a creative healing retreat culminating in an art show showcasing healing creations in the Scottsdale and Paradise Valley areas in March.

A finalist for the 2019 Phoenix Mayor’s Arts Awards, Warrior Songs is a non-profit organization committed to facilitating the healing of veterans through music and the creative arts.

22–26 March, Warrior Songs is hosting a creative healing retreat for 16 female military veterans surviving sexual trauma in Scottsdale. The retreat culminates with an art exhibition where the veterans will showcase their healing creations on Saturday 25 March from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Franciscan Renewal Center, 5802 E. Lincoln Drive, Paradise Valley.

This event is free and open to the public. The event is suggested for guests ages 13 and older due to the candid nature of the topics that will be discussed, according to a press release.

The retreat is offered free of charge to 16 female veterans who survived military sexual trauma. Eight of the veterans will be local while the other eight are from across the country.

The retreat is facilitated by an experienced volunteer staff of five – three are veterans and two are civilian therapists.

During the four-day retreat, the veterans explore aspects of military service and subsequent trauma through a variety of art modalities, including writing, painting, drawing and songwriting, the press release said.

Each session is followed by an educational/instructional mind/body session competent to assist in reducing any PSTD symptoms arising from exploring the trauma.

The art exhibit is a key component of the retreat’s healing power, as it allows the veteran to convey the parts of their trauma that they most need to express publicly. Many participants share things they have never told another person, and feel relieved afterwards.

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Audience members from previous art exhibitions often say that the experience is one of the most profound and moving experiences of their lives, the press release states.

Warrior Songs hosted a similar retreat in 2019, and local staff have been fundraising to cover the cost of the retreat since January 2020.

“I am proud to be a part of this retreat,” said retreat facilitator and survivor Luz Helena Thompson. “Warrior Songs uses creative arts as a powerful approach to supporting female veterans through the healing process and recovery from military sexual trauma. I invite you to support Warrior Songs Creative Arts Retreat by learning more about our programs on the website.”

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