ESSA receives grant funding from disabled veterans foundation

The Eureka Springs School of the Arts (ESSA) has received a Capacity Building grant from the Disabled Veterans National Foundation (DVNF) for $6,600 to support ESSA’s Art for Veterans Program.

This program provides 10 free art and fine craft workshops, serving 50 to 60 local and regional veterans every year.

ESSA has supported this program with fundraising efforts and the generosity of local partners that provide lunches, materials, financial support, and volunteers.

“This has been an amazing experience for staff, volunteers, and students alike,” ESSA said in a news release.

The program was started by Vietnam veteran and ESSA employee Jim McCoy, and ESSA has dedicated the veterans’ program fund in his name. Students in ESSA’s veterans’ workshops get to make and take their projects and have opportunities to learn skills in woodturning, woodworking, blacksmithing, welding, painting and more.

The program began in 2018 with the first ESSA Veterans Appreciation Day and has grown to include additional workshops throughout the year in partnership with the Veterans Healthcare System of the Ozarks as part of their recreational programming for veterans receiving in-patient care at their Fayetteville facility.

“This grant from DVNF strengthens veterans programming at ESSA and we are very grateful to have our program recognized on a national level with this grant,” said Kelly McDonough, ESSA’s executive director.

Joseph VanFonda (USMC Sgt.Maj. Ret.), CEO of the Disabled Veterans National Foundation said: “We are proud to support ESSA’s Art for Veterans Program. The dedication and creativity fostered through these workshops not only provide therapeutic benefits but also empower veterans by giving them new skills and a sense of accomplishment. This program is a testament to the positive impact that community support and engagement can have on our veterans’ lives.”

Disabled Veterans National Foundation exists to provide critically needed support to disabled and at-risk veterans who leave the military wounded— physically or psychologically— after defending our safety and our freedom.