Ahead of Veterans Day, Terminal 4 at John F. Kennedy International Airport set the stage for a powerful musical performance spotlighting veterans at the terminal and their journeys. The event marks the beginning of a special collaboration between JFKIAT – the operator of Terminal 4 at JFK – and CreatiVets, an organization that offers opportunities for relief and healing for veterans through the use of various forms of art.
Local New Yorkers and members of the Terminal 4 community gathered for the celebration, which was performed by Daniel Smalley. They recognized 32 veterans from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Transportation Security Administration, ABM Industries, and JFKIAT.
JFKIAT called all veterans at Terminal 4 for anyone interested in participating in this new program. The participating veterans engaged in collaborative sessions with CreatiVets, where they listened to songs created by other veterans as they journaled their personal stories and experiences. Following the engaging workshops, CreatiVets produced a compelling song featuring elements of each veteran’s story that was delivered in a moving performance during the Veterans Day celebration. After the musical performance, a group portrait of the veterans captured by photographer Jason Myers and assisted by Laurel Higman was unveiled.
“This is a very special program that shines a light on these amazing veterans and their incredible stories, and we are proud to honor those who served our country through this initiative with CreatiVets,” said Roel Huinink, President & CEO of JFKIAT. “As part of our commitment to supporting and celebrating our local community, we look forward to our ongoing collaboration with CreatiVets to spotlight veterans in Terminal 4 throughout the year. We encourage all passengers to view the portraits and listen to the compelling songs while traveling through our terminal.”
This event marked the launch of a new collaboration between JFKIAT and CreatiVets. On an ongoing basis, Terminal 4 will showcase portraits of other veterans from CreatiVets, which will include QR codes for travelers to listen to the songs they created, which are based on their stories.
“We are very excited to have this art installation in JFK Airport. We are always looking for ways to bridge the veteran/civilian divide, and this is a great way to give civilians a glimpse of what veterans are dealing with after coming home from protecting our country,” said CreatiVets Program Director Brett Gillan. “We also hope veterans will see this exhibit and know they are not alone in their thoughts and feelings after coming home from war and will ultimately apply for a CreatiVets program.”
CreatiVets’ mission is to provide opportunities for relief and healing for the men and women who have devoted themselves to serving this country. Its purpose is to use various forms of art, such as songwriting, visual arts, music, and creative writing, to help disabled veterans cope with service-related trauma – including post-traumatic stress, or PTS – by fostering self-expression in a way that allows them to transform their stories of trauma and struggle into a form of art that can inspire and motivate continued healing.