All About Arts in the Armed Forces
Service members and veterans have many different passions beyond serving in the military. For some, that passion is the arts, from performing to screenwriting to playwriting. In addition, service members and veterans enjoy watching a good show. This is where Arts in the Armed Forces comes into play.
What is Arts in the Armed Forces?
AITAF is a non-profit based in Brooklyn, NY. Their mission from their website is, “ to use the powerful shared experience of the arts to start conversations between military and civilian, service member and family member, the world of the arts and the world of practical action.”
AITAF partners with military installations all over the world. They provide a communal artistic experience to military personnel that are stationed there. The staff and volunteer professional actors perform and then have a Q&A session with the audience about the themes and process of the work. The trips normally last two days, and the AITAF team members are also able to train in the specialty of the installation.
During COVID they have done this virtually, you can see more about their previous events on their past event page.
Who started Arts in the Armed Forces?
Military veteran and Actor Adam Driver and his wife, actress Joanne Tucker started AITAF back in 2006, with it becoming official in 2008. Adam Driver served in the US Marine Corps, signing up after 9/11. After almost three years, he was medically discharged after injuring his sternum while mountain biking. He ended up going to Julliard and first appeared in Broadway and off-Broadway productions. He now has a successful acting career with credits in TV shows such as Girls, and movies such as the Marriage Story, BlacKkKlansman, and Kylo Ren in the latest Star Wars movies. Joanne Tucker has been in films such as The Report, Give or Take, as well as many off-Broadway productions.
What are the Bridge Awards?
In 2018, in honor of their 10th anniversary, AITAF started the Bridge Award for Playwriting. This award is open to anyone who has served or who currently serves in the US military. This award is to identify and encourage talented playwrights in the military community.
So far there have been three winners, War Stories by Vinnie Lyman, Tampons, Dead Dogs, and Other Disposable Things by Shairi Engle, and Local Gods, by Anton Sattler. Winners will receive a cash prize of $10,000, an awards ceremony, a reading and access to membership, and/or professional development opportunities.
In 2020, they added the Bridge Award for Screenwriting. This is similar to the playwriting award and is for aspiring filmmakers with a military background.
What about their Student Veteran Internship?
The Student Veteran Internship program with AITAF is a 10-12 week program located in Brooklyn, NY, and was launched in 2018. Interns work 30 hours a week in the summer, receiving a $1,000 stipend, and 10 hours a week in the fall and spring for hourly minimum wage. These interns play a key role in the daily activities of a small non-profit as well as assisting with the external events on military installations as well as other locations.
To apply, you would need to be currently enrolled full-time in an undergraduate or graduate university program and be the type of person they would be looking for. You can read more about this program and its qualifications on their website.
Unfortunately, they are not taking any new interns at the moment but that could change in the future.
Arts in the Armed Forces is an amazing veteran-owned non-profit, offering value to the military and veteran community.
About the author
Julie Provost is a freelance writer, blogger, and owner of Soldier's Wife, Crazy Life, a support blog for military spouses. She lives in Tennessee with her National Guard husband and three boys.