Connecting South Dakota’s veterans to arts opportunities
By South Dakota Lt. Governor Matt Michels
South Dakota has always stepped forward in defense of our nation, with a high percentage of our population volunteering for all branches of military service. As a result, our state has a wealth of veterans, proud representatives of each generation that has served. Those honorable veterans have stories to tell—and South Dakota has a rich and vibrant creative sector to help them share their knowledge, their experience and their patriotism.
I have been honored this year by being selected as chair of the National Lieutenant Governors Association during the organization’s annual meeting in Nashville, TN. As chair, I am privileged to determine the group’s initiative for the coming year. I believe the time is right to focus on connecting veterans with opportunities in the arts—and South Dakota can lead the way with an innovative program already in the planning stages.
In partnership with the Michael J. Fitzmaurice State Veterans Home, the South Dakota Arts Council and Arts South Dakota, the Lieutenant Governor’s Office is working to design comprehensive arts residency programming for the State Veterans Home and community of Hot Springs. We will also be working with Americans for the Arts, a national arts advocacy organization, and planning exciting new ways to engage South Dakota artists, students and other communities in connecting veterans to creative expressions of their service.
We’ve already developed a concept for the program, and partnership meetings and conversations are underway to develop and implement specific projects centered on the State Veterans Home in Hot Springs. You’ll be hearing much more about this initiative in coming months, and all the partners are excited about making this wonderful investment to help our state’s veterans share and celebrate their stories.
The arts are an essential element in the daily lives of our state’s citizens. Involving our creative community in honoring and remembering South Dakota’s veterans brings us all closer together and spotlights these remarkable men and women.
For a video link to this project, go to https://youtu.be/dEFOpzZJ-6c