-MLK Day of Service

VAP was asked by long time partner The 6th Branch to film their new 2014 PSA. After the success of the VAP PSA, many VSO partners have reached out to VAP to help them reach a larger audience through innovative and creative advertising. VAP brought together New York and Baltimore-based veteran filmmakers to capture the amazing work of this veteran-led organization.

-Legacy of Valor

In partnership with the Manatee County Agricultural Museum and Palmetto Historical Park of Florida, The Legacy of Valor hosted an art show featuring Veteran Artist Program (VAP) participants March 7-April 24, 2014 as part of the 2014 Legacy of Valor campaign, a project rallying the community to honor veterans, inspire patriotism and pass freedom on to others.


VAP founder BR McDonald spoke at the Mobile Museum of Art about art, war, and story-telling on June 5, 2014, for Artillery, a program on post-service creative process, healing, and advocacy.

-Telling: Denver

The Telling Project (TP), Veteran Artist Program (VAP), Campus Compact of the Mountain West (CCMW), and the Bob Woodruff Foundation presented an original production of Telling: Denver July 30th – August 3st, 2014 at Saint Cajetans on the Auraria Campus, in conjunction with the Colorado Veterans in Higher Education Summit. Nine participants, consisting of Veterans and military family members, will tell their own stories on stage in front of a Denver audience under the direction of The Romero Theater Troupe. The Auraria Campus is hosting Telling: Denver through the support of Metropolitan State University of Denver’s Veteran and Military Support Services Office, in partnership with the SECond Mission: Service|Education|Careers Initiative for student Veteran success through CCMW.
Written by Jonathan Wei, directed by The Romero Theater Troupe and produced by BR McDonald, Telling: Denver features nine Veterans and family members, including Tabitha Bennett, Jenn Calaway, Gina Fasciani, Josh Hamann, Richard McKee, Sarah Plummer, Anastasia Pyzhov, Jim Stevens, and Megghan Stevens. Cast members represent Veterans from four branches of service and include military family members as well. More information and tickets can be found at www.ccmountainwest.org/telling-denver-0

-Telling: San Antonio

KLRN, Veteran Artist Program, The Telling Project and Tobin Center for the Performing Arts presented TELLING: SAN ANTONIO, October 1-5 at the Tobin Center Carlos Alvarez Studio Theater.
Learn more and watch the captured performance online at http://www.klrn.org/veterans/telling

-Austin Arts & Service Celebration

Veteran Artist Program launched the 4th Arts and Service Celebration in Austin, TX providing veterans and family members the opportunity to connect with careers in the arts. Austin ASC was presented in partnership with The Telling Project, Austin Community College, Texas Performing Arts, Writers’ League of Texas, Texas Humanities and the Humanities Institute at the University of Texas at Austin.
Visit the ASC website: www.artsandservice.org Download the complete press release here: http://www.prweb.com/releases/2014/08/prweb12117472.htm

-War Comes Home

The San Diego Public Library, with generous funding from Cal Humanities, partnered with the Veteran Artist Program to organize an exhibition of local Veterans art. The show, in conjunction with California Reads: War Comes Home was shown in three branches (Point Loma/Hervey, Mission Valley, and Rancho Bernardo), between October 15 and December 31, 2014.

-VAP Veterans Week Showcase 2014

Presented in partnership with Voices from War and The Telling Project, and made possible by the generous sponsorship of Empire State College, Operation College Promise, Stockton College, Thomas Edison State College and the Joseph J. Theinert Memorial Fund.
SUNDAY, NOV 9th at 7:30PM
Journeys In Stories – From the Front to the Home Front in Words
Presented by Veteran Artist Program (VAP) with Voices from War

Featuring National Book Award Nominee PHIL KLAY with poet, librettist, playwright MAURICE DECAUL, poet and educator LAREN MCCLUNG, and essayist (first-hand from Afghanistan) and fiction writer, NATHAN BRADLEY BETHEA.
Curated by Kara Krauze (Founder, Voices from War)

followed by

TELLING: NYC 2014 featuring Jerry Castanos, Michael Castelblanco, Elana Duffy, Natalie Lovejoy, John Manley, Letrice Titus and Adam Wojack
Created by Jonathan Wei
Directed by Max Rayneard and Alex Mallory
Sunday, November 9th, 7:30PM
FIT’s Katie Murphy Amphitheatre, NYC

-Telling: Baltimore 2014

Veteran Artist Program (VAP) presents
Telling: Baltimore 2014 in partnership with Johns Hopkins University
December 5-7 Location: The Head Theater at Center Stage 700 North Calvert Street, Baltimore MD 21202 Time: 8:00 PM
This was the 2nd production of Telling that VAP has produced in Baltimore and included 10 veterans and family members.
Compiled by Max Rayneard
Directed by Alonzo Lamont
Produced by BR McDonald
Featuring Leanne Bledsoe, Susie Cooper, Aisha Dacosta, Karin Rodney-Haapala, Nick Lutwyche, Tracy Miller, Jeremy Paris, Jim Perry and Maureen Stewart

Telling Baltimore


-VAP rings Opening Bell at NASDAQ

VAP was invited to ring the opening bell at NASDAQ on December 26th, 2013 to celebrate the organization going national! Our new PSA (link) was shown on the 40 foot NASDAQ tower and the opening was covered on 3 major news and business networks! We were thrilled to include the cast and crew of the PSA to ring the opening bell with us.

-Telling: New York City - This is What We Fought For

VAP produced its 4th Telling Project, this time at the Fashion Institute of Technology in Chelsea Manhattan. As part of the Arts and Service Celebration, VAP produced Telling: New York City and received acclaim in the New York Times. Telling Project NYC was created by Jonathan Wei, directed by Max Rayneard and featured Roman Baca, Adrienne Brammer, Matthew Thomas Burda, Sandra Lee, BR McDonald & Neath Williams.

Click here for more photos

-Reading, Writing and Talking War

As part of the Arts and Service Celebration, VAP presented a literary event featured veteran-created and related works. This event featured Roxana Robinson, author of SPARTA (FSG/Sarah Crichton Books, 2013) alongside military veteran writers Maurice Decaul, Mariette Kalinowski, J.A. Moad II and Jake Siegel. Writer Kara Krauze, founder of Voices from War, moderated the event.

-Creative Pitch Workshop

This workshop was led by award winning director/producer Whitney Dow and Ryan Harrington, Director of Documentary Programming for the Tribeca Film Institute who took 18 veteran artists through the steps of what it takes to create and deliver a successful pitch. The session was open to all Arts and Service Celebration participants and veterans in any of the three focused disciplines (film, theater and writing).

-Pitch Panels

As part of the Arts & Service Celebration, VAP hosted four pitch panels featuring industry professionals in film, theater and writing. 18 projects were chosen for pitching: 12 in film, 3 in writing and 3 in theater. The panels were open to both narrative and non-fiction work. In the film category, two separate cash awards of $1,000 were awarded by the Tribeca Film Institute to the best pitch in each session. Alongside the cash prize, TFI will guide the winners through development and next steps for the project.

-VAP at Army Week Domino Saints Fundraiser

VAP celebrated Army Week by inviting Domino Saints to perform at the Lexington Armory in New York City. VAP announced the 2013 Arts and Service Celebration by inviting veteran artists from VAP, Exit 12 Dance Company, Warrior Writers NYC, Veterans Center for the Performing Arts, Society for Artistic Veterans, The Good School, Vets on Sets, Poetic Theater, and many other artists and organizations to celebrate with us.

Click here for photos

-Brandman University Arts Show - MBA VAP

Graduate students from Brandman University in San Diego partnered with VAP to host VETERANS+ART on Wednesday, April 17, 2013 from 11:00am – 3:00 pm at Horton Square located at 225 Broadway in downtown San Diego. The fundraising showcased local veteran artists and their artwork while sharing their compelling stories and educating visitors on VAP and the importance of art therapy.

-VAP Interviews General Borling in Washington DC

VAP partnered with Scott Manning & Associates to promote John Borling’s new book, “Taps on the Walls”. VAP Founder and President, BR McDonald, interviewed General Borling at the Gibson Showroom in Washington D.C.

-CCME San Diego

VAP was invited once again to participate in the annual conference of the Council of Colleges and Military Educators (CCME). VAP presented an veteran art exhibit, created a coffee house for conference participants and provided entertainment during the week.

-Artscape Baltimore 2013

VAP shared a booth with Music 4 More this year at Artscape, there was lots of heat, lots of rain, and lots of great and interesting people! We love getting back to our roots in Baltimore and being part of the thriving arts scene.

-Telling: San Francisco

As part of Celebrating the Arts of Service, VAP and Community Integration Through Creativity, VAP was hosted by the Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center (PRRC) of the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center (SFVAMC). VAP conducted arts workshops for veterans in the San Francisco VA and produced The Telling: San Francisco, VAP 3rd production of The Telling Project.

Click here for more photos

-Intel Show

The Veteran Art Show at Intel in Hiillboro Oregon featured artwork by veteran artists, Joe Cantrell, Richard Cooper, Randy Miller, and Russell Waldron.

Vietnam Vet Sees Himself at The Vietnam Memorial by Joe Cantrell

First Post-Vietnam Image - DragonFly by Joe Cantrell

-Jericho Project Mural Painting with Warrior Gateway

From November 1-4, veterans and civilians volunteered to paint a military mural honoring the veterans at the Jericho Project Kingsbridge Terrace with muralist Sam Welty.  This mural is now the backdrop for a half basketball court. Hosted in partnership with Warrior Gateway.

-Arts & Service Celebration PSA

This VAP commercial was filmed in two days at Rollin Studios in Brooklyn, NY. This project was led by 15 veterans (including the entire cast) who created the idea, wrote the script, led the production and brought together a cast and crew of over 30 people.
In addition to producing the piece, VAP brought on industry professionals such as Frankie Demarco, Mad Men Director of Photography, and Whitney Dow, documentary film producer, to mentor the vets and help mesh their intangible skills as military veterans into their new found love of filmmaking.
This commercial is a great example of what the Veteran Artist Program is ultimately trying to achieve with the Arts & Service Celebration: partnering with industry professionals and gathering a community of veterans with an interest in the arts and encouraging them to take advantage of the vast opportunities in New York City to learn, create and succeed in their artistic endeavors.
Featuring: Neath Williams, Matthew Thomas Burda, Marco Reininger, Alexander Emmert, Brian Shaw, and Kyle Verdeur as the Rapid Response Team, Justine Cabulong and Tyler La Marr as Special Agents, & BR McDonald as Himself
Directed by Michael Brown
Score by Natalie Lovejoy

ASC Recap



-Sailabration: Baltimore

VAP was selected to participate in the War of 1812 Bicentennial Celebration in Baltimore.

-Artscape Baltimore 2012

VAP hosted a tent at Artscape in Baltimore on July 20 - 22, 2012 featuring VAP gear, live music by veteran artists and other activities.

-CCME Orlando

VAP was asked to display artwork created by veterans at the annual conference of the Council of Colleges and Military Educators in Orlando, FL. The conference drew over 1,000 people from across the country under the theme: Salute to Possibilities: Paving the Way for Our Military Community

-Telling: Baltimore in Annapolis

The cast of Telling: Baltimore culminated their tour of Maryland and New Jersey with their 6th performance at the Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts. This cast became one of the most acclaimed of any Telling in the country. Each cast member is a leader in their own right and taking their skills and experience in Telling: Baltimore forward as we continue to propel veterans into the creative arts community.

-Telling: Baltimore in Stockton

The cast of Telling traveled to Atlantic City for the first remount of "Telling: Baltimore, MD". Under the supervision of Stage Manager Margaret McDonald, this performance continued to impact communities along the east coast. The Dean of Students was in attendance as well as supporters who came from across the region to hear the true and compelling stories of veterans and their families.

-Arts, Military and Healing in DC

VAP presented Arts, Military + Healing: A Collaborative Initiative as the first program to bring together the diverse individuals and groups involved in this transformation of military veterans into artists. A new generation of artists is responding to the traumatic experiences of prolonged war, creating haunting and memorable work. In partnership with the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum, Library of Congress and Corcoran Gallery of Art, the AMH workshops and programs united military communities with veteran and civilian artists, arts organizations, schools, national cultural institutions, philanthropic foundations and military hospitals to raise awareness of the significance of the arts in the healing process.
For more information about the conference visit http://www.artsandmilitary.org

-VAP documents 3rd annual Pat Tillman Legacy Summit in DC

On July 23rd, Over 40 Tillman Scholars returned for another day of service to this community. Along with original partner and co-creator of Operation: Oliver, VAP will continue our attack on the decades of neglect and physical blight that plagues the Oliver neighborhood. VAP spent the week in and around Washington DC working with the Pat Tillman Foundation. We were honored to be asked to provide photography and video services for their 3-day summit. The summit was kicked off with a day of internal meetings and panels led by guest speakers and Marie Tillman.

Photo by Josh Davison.

Arts, Military & Healing


-Telling: Baltimore - Preview and Fundraiser at Walters Art Museum

7 Baltimore area military veterans and family members took the stage in a live performance of their own words transcribed and scripted from interviews conducted by playwright Jonathan Wei of The Telling Project. After extensive interviews, performance training, and rehearsals, this cast took the bold step of “telling” the story of life and the military to the greater Baltimore community. This was the first performance of 7 and served as a fundraiser to the continued run in Baltimore.

-Telling: Baltimore at Towson University

Stories from a mother of a fallen marine, an active duty medic, a “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” veteran, and other personal accounts of service make this a must-see event that will change the way our veterans communicate with the community they live in. David Dower of the Arena Stage says this project has "the potential to radically re-define the idea of the military in the American consciousness" The cast of “Telling: Baltimore, MD” consists of Erin Byers (Active Duty Army), Cate Conroy (Army Veteran), Jeremy Johnson (Navy Veteran), Tracy Miller (Mother of Marine, KIA), Elijah Sacra (Marine Corps Veteran), Meghan Young (Wife of Marine Corps Veteran), Patrick Young (Marine Corps Veteran)

-Pat Tillman Legacy Summit - First Mural in Baltimore

Early in 2011, The Pat Tillman Foundation asked The 6th Branch co founders, who are recipients of Tillman Military Scholarships, and BR McDonald, Director of VAP, to organize and execute the day of service for the annual Pat Tillman Legacy Summit. A great network formed, including Baltimore BORN (Boys Opportunity and Resource Network), a nonprofit started by Baltimore Raven's cornerback Dominique Foxworth, One Green Home, The Mission Continues, The Baltimore Love Project, and even the Baltimore Ravens' Cheerleaders. Months of planning culminated on July 11th when more than 200 volunteers arrived at the corner of Bond and Hoffman for a day of service. For four hours, garbage was collected and removed by the truckload, weedeaters were on full throttle, machetes cut through high weeds, and fresh mulch was laid down. Meanwhile, VAP, the Baltimore Love Project, and the boys from BORN were hard at work finishing an amazing mural at 1516 E. Oliver Street that the boys helped design.

-Operation: Oliver

VAP was a co-creator of "Operation: Oliver" in our parthership with The 6th Branch. Operation Oliver is a long term community service initiative in East Baltimore's Oliver neighborhood, an area known for vacant homes, poverty, and crime. Through strategic partnerships, VAP helped create the model of a "Veteran Sponsored Community," using the veteran skillset to revitalize communities here at home. Thousands of volunteers have particpated in “Operation Oliver” and the initiative has been featured on the BBC, Baltimore Sun, ABC, WYPR, the London Times and more. VAP created two large murals and helped the community reinvest in the history and treasure that Oliver has to offer.

-“Remembering” Visual Arts Exhibit at Skylofts Gallery

VAP held an exhibit at the Skyloft Gallery in Baltimore as part of the Pat Tillman Legacy Summit and Day of Service. Tillman Scholars and veteran artists from around the country descended on Baltimore to celebrate service.

-Remembering with Michael Beresh - Veterans Day Showcase

On Veterans Day November 11, 2011 the Veteran Artist Program produced yet another successful show at the Creative Alliance in Baltimore, MD. Along with a band comprised of some of the best musicians in Baltimore, Michael Beresh created original songs based VAP artists and Telling Project cast member's actual military stories. Some of the cast appeared on stage to share with the audience their story before hearing the original songs written about them for the first time. Michael Beresh and the band also performed a set of song's from his "Letters to Baltimore."

-Ageless Arts - Documentary Film on Old Soldiers Home

BR McDonald and Josh Davidson set out in the to create this short documentary featuring the resident artists at the Armed Forces Retirement Home. As one of the first projects produced by the Veteran Artist Program, it led to meaningful interactions and amazing perspetives of our generations of veteran artists, including a WWII nurse.

Operation Oliver


-Autism Awareness Night

On August 12th, 2010, VAP & The 6th Branch (link) hosted their first major fundraising event. It was a night of support for The Center for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (CAASD) at Towson University (TU). The event took place at Skylofts Gallery, the home of The 6th Branch and VAP. Brian McDonald Sr., a fabulous jazz trombonist, kept the crowd entertained with a slew of cover songs and original jazz music. Matt Kaiser, a comedian with Asperger's Syndrome, performed a hysterical stand-up routine. Alex from Alex's Art Loft, a young man with autism that uses art to communicate generously donated several pieces to the auction and was there in attendance with his beautiful handmade jewelery, cards, and paintings. At the night's conclusion, The 6th Branch & VAP announced that nearly $5,000 was raised! A diverse crowd of students, veterans, artists, mental health workers, local businesses, as well as family and friends collaborated to make it a truly special night that we hope made a real difference in the lives of adults with autism.

-Social Media for Everybody

Baltimore Entrepreneur and VAP Founding Board Member Mike Subelsky shared his experiences using social media in Baltimore's tech and arts communities. He explain the tools and principles he uses to promote cool projects in Baltimore while enriching his life with new friendships. The key message: social media is about authenticity, listening, and participation, not marketing or hyping or selling (but it happens to be an awesome vehicle for those things if practiced with an honest heart).

-Baltimore on Broadway

The Broadway songbook was opened to reveal life as we know it in Baltimore, both past, present, and future. VAP’s very first production included the cast of Heather Mayes, Allison Berry, Michael Gaylon, Erin Kruse, Lonny Smith, Alex Tang, Larry Darnell Penn, Alexis Holzer, and Laura Wexler, and BR McDonald

-VAP Home Show - 1st Annual Veterans Day Showcase

Baltimore based artists and performers took a step back into the spotlight after years of serving. The audience experienced an original short by actor/filmmaker Josh Davidson (Air Force); a unique multimedia presentation by BIG founder and Ignite director Mike Subelsky (Navy); a smooth Jazz performance by nationally-acclaimed guitarist Drew Davidsen (Navy); a one man show by Towson Veteran Coordinator and actor Patrick Young (Marines); exhibitions from visual artists Greg Lamberson (Marines) and Jacob Warford (Army); and original songs and unforgettable covers by singer/songwriters Jeff Hardwick (Air Force), Marq-Paul LaRose (Air Force), and VAP founder BR McDonald (Army).

2010 Event Promo