photo of Karen Pence

Readout of Second Lady Karen Pence's Visit to the Creative Forces NEA Healing Arts Network Summit

October 24, 2017

Today, Second Lady Karen Pence traveled to Tampa, Florida to deliver remarks at a luncheon for the Creative Forces NEA Healing Arts Network Summit. In the remarks, Mrs. Pence highlighted the value of art therapy for healing the invisible wounds of war. More than 500,000 men and women of our armed forces are living with Traumatic Brain Injury or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

After delivering remarks, Mrs. Pence met with Creative Forces arts therapists to learn more about their programs and what they're doing to help military service members and veterans heal through creative arts therapies, which includes art therapy. After the meeting, the Second Lady departed the Summit and traveled to James A. Haley Veterans' Hospital.

Upon arrival at the hospital, Mrs. Pence received a brief overview of the art therapy program and viewed the new art therapy space where the Creative Forces art therapist Merrilee Jorn will work with veterans. Then, she had the opportunity to meet with one of the patients and his mother, who showed the Second Lady some examples of his artwork. Following this interaction, Mrs. Pence observed recreation therapists conduct an art class and met with eight veterans participating in the class designed to help manage chronic pain. Before departing the hospital, Mrs. Pence toured the sensory Technology Awareness Room and Virtual Reality Room where patients suffering from severe traumatic brain injuries and inner ear injuries receive treatment.

To stay updated on the Second Lady's art therapy program visits and stories shared about the life changing treatment, follow the Second Lady's Blog Page. To stay updated on her events, follow her on Twitter at, @SecondLady.

About Art Therapy

Second Lady Karen Pence chose one initiative to champion, and it is art therapy. She calls her initiative, Art Therapy: Healing with the HeART. According to the American Art Therapy Association, art therapy is an integrative mental health and human services profession that enriches the lives of individuals, families, and communities through active art-making, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship. Professional art therapists who are experts in human development, psychological, and counseling theories and techniques facilitate Art therapy. For more information about the art therapy profession, visit

About Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network

Creative Forces: NEA Military Healing Arts Network is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) in partnership with the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs, plus state and local arts agencies. The network places creative arts therapies at the core of patient-centered care at 11 military medical facilities across the country, as well as a telehealth program to reach patients in rural and remote areas, and increases access to therapeutic arts activities for military personnel and their families in local communities. Americans for the Arts is working with the NEA to provide administrative support for Creative Forces.

Karen Pence, Readout of Second Lady Karen Pence's Visit to the Creative Forces NEA Healing Arts Network Summit Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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