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Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center - Houston, Texas

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Seven Veterans Win Local Art Contest

April 17, 2009

In the Landscape Category, Shawn James' “Wreaths Across America”
Shawn James'
“Wreaths Across America”

In the Digital Art Category, Shawn James' “Distant Stars”
Shawn James'
“Distant Stars”

In the Assemblage Category, Victoria Isner's “Self”
Victoria Isner's

In the Woodcarving/Relief Carving Category, Newman Washington's “Alonzo Davis”
Newman Washington's
“Alonzo Davis”

In the Colored Drawing Category, Victoria Isner's “Thunderbird Rising”
Victoria Isner's
“Thunderbird Rising”

In the Applied Arts Mixed Media Category, Victoria Isner's “The Gathering”
Victoria Isner's
“The Gathering”

In the Woodworking Category, Peter Johnson's “Baby Ike”
Peter Johnson's
“Baby Ike”

In the Acrylic Painting Category, Stephen Martinez's “Nothing Will Die. All Things Must Die”
Stephen Martinez's
“Nothing Will Die.
All Things Must Die”

In the Metal Work Category, Victoria Isner's “Hand Art”
Victoria Isner's
“Hand Art”


HOUSTON – Seven local Veterans who receive their health care at the Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center had their art work selected to compete in the Department of Veterans Affairs’ national creative arts competition.

The local winners include Navy Veteran and Houston resident Peter Johnson in the woodworking category; Army Veteran and Houston resident Newman Washington in the woodcarving/relief carving category; Army Veteran and Sweeney, Tx. resident Victoria Isner in the assemblage, colored drawing, metal work, and applied arts mixed media categories; Navy Veteran and Fresno, Tx. resident Shawn James in the landscape photography and digital art categories; Army Veteran and Houston resident Stephen Martinez in the acrylic painting category; Air Force Veteran and Houston resident Jacqueline Beard in the poetry creative writing category; and Marine Corps Veteran and Brenham, Tx. resident Shelley Smith in the patriotic creative writing category.

The National Veterans Creative Arts Festival, taking place October 5 - 11, 2009 in San Antonio,  is the culmination of talent competitions in art, creative writing, dance, drama, and music for Veterans treated in the VA’s national health care system.

Each year, approximately 130 national winners exhibit their artwork or perform musical, dance, dramatic, or original writing selections in a gala variety show. A professional orchestra accompanies the performance.

Veterans invited to participate are the winners of year-long, national fine arts talent competitions in which thousands of Veterans enter, from VA medical facilities across the nation.

VA medical facilities incorporate creative arts into their recreation therapy programs. This annual competition recognizes the progress and recovery made through that therapy, and raises the visibility of the creative achievements of our nation’s Veterans after disease, disability, or life crisis.

Photographs of the local winning artwork may be viewed at For more information about the 2009 National Veterans Creative Arts Festival sponsored by the Department of Veterans Affairs, the American Legion Auxiliary, and Help Hospitalized Veterans visit

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