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TRAVELERS REST, S.C. — Travelers Rest resident Brad Carraway, an Iraqi war veteran, was recently awarded a $1000 sponsorship from Upstate Warrior Solution allowing him to offer free therapeutic art classes to area veterans.
Over the past year, Carraway has partnered with the Travelers Rest Artists Alliance to offer the free classes to both veterans and caregivers, and the sponsorship will allow the program to continue.
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"The mission of both the Artist Alliance's Veteran Art Program and Upstate Warrior Solution is to offer our services to the veterans in our region," Carraway said. "By working through collaborative efforts our organizations will be able to more effectively reach out across our community to get the word out that we are there to assist and support our military veterans."
Carraway is a self described "prodigal son" to art. Serving overseas from 2004-2005 with the SC National Guard Field Artillery as a Combat MP/Convoy Security Platform led him through some difficult experiences.
"Through a war zone epiphany, I came to realize that art was an extremely important part of me," Carraway says. "I vowed that if I made it back to the real world I would never neglect my talents again."
And he didn't. In fact, art has made such a large impact on his life in a positive way that after 20 years of service in the military he wants to share that experience with others of similar backgrounds.
"It's been a perfect form of therapeutic release and my greatest catalyst to emotional healing," he said.
Carraway is a graduate of the University of South Carolina, holding degrees in graphic design and interdisciplinary studies with a minor in psychology. He is a certified peer support specialist and a counselor to fellow combat veterans who also have struggled to understand and heal the emotional scars from their traumatic experiences.
He is active in many veterans support programs and is continually exploring the use of expressive creative therapy as a form of treatment for combat induced PTSD. He also lectures and gives educational art talks on the benefits of art in the treatment of PTSD while exhibiting his Veteran themed artwork.
Carraway's workshops explore various forms of water based art - pencil, pen, ink, watercolor and more. Experience is not required and drop ins are welcome. While basic materials needed for the class will be supplied by the instructor, students are encouraged to bring their own supplies if they like.
Carraway is also supported by the White Rabbit Fine Art Gallery in Travelers Rest.
Learn more about Upstate Warrior Solutions here.
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