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Bridging the Military-Civilian Divide

Art in Action at Veterans’ Open Mic

 Veteran Frank (Left), Playwright Linda Parris-Bailey (center) and Andrea Assaf, director of Art2Action, on stage at the Veterans Open Mic Night. Bobbie O'Brien WUSF Public Media


Veteran Frank (Left), Playwright Linda Parris-Bailey (center) and Andrea Assaf, director of Art2Action, on stage at the Veterans Open Mic Night.
Bobbie O’Brien WUSF Public Media

Beyond the battlefield and the barracks, some of Florida’s 1.5 million veterans have had trouble transitioning to civilian life. Yet, there are signs that poetry, art, music and performance are helping veterans adjust.

With Veterans’ Day approaching, we bring you their stories this week in a special edition of Florida Matters.

These are highlights from the October 2014 Veterans Open Mic Night at Tampa’s Sacred Grounds Coffee House. Military veterans meet there every first Sunday to share their talents and stories.

The WUSF Veterans Coming Home project partnered with Art-2-Action Tampa Veterans to bring you this evening of poetry and music with military veterans.

The emcees for the evening were Andrea Assaf, director of Art-2-Action, and guest playwright Linda Parris-Bailey who wrote the play, Speed Killed My Cousin, about returning veterans.

The highlights feature veterans Charla  Gautierre, Cheldyn Donovan and Marc Reid.

Veteran Cheldyn Donovan has severe social phobia. But by learning to play guitar, he's been able to overcome some of his fears.

Veteran Cheldyn Donovan has severe social phobia. But by learning to play guitar, he’s been able to overcome some of his fears.

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This was the first time veteran Charla Gautierre read her poetry before a public audience. She is dealing with post-traumatic stress and military sexual trauma and says writing poetry helps her deal with the anger and distrust.