In 2003 at the age of 17 Curtis Bean graduated from Troy Buchanan High School and just three weeks after graduation he was off to serve his country in the US Army. Serve his country he did, Curt served in Operation Iraqi Freedom I, II, and III as both a Cavalry Scout and sniper. Then in 2008, after serving five years (two and half years of combat) and losing four of his friends after a roadside bomb blew up a humvee they were in, Curt left the military and moved to Florida.
While living in Florida Curt wanted a painting to hang on the wall in his room and decided to pick up a canvas, paints and brushes and created his first painting. He hasn’t stopped painting since. It wasn’t until he moved to Denver, Colo. in 2012 and completed a seven-week inpatient PTSD program, however, that he realized how therapeutic art was to him.
The program opened Curt’s eyes to not only his needs but also the needs of countless other veterans who may not be getting the treatment or support they need. Curt also found a lack of alternative therapies being offered to veterans suffering from PTSD and wanted to find a way to give back so he began running art classes at the Denver Vet Center. Since then he has worked with counselors at the Denver VA Medical Center to make art therapy a part of the PTSD program and now he runs art classes every other week. He also offers free classes to veterans at Hope Tank, a charitable boutique in Denver, once a month.
Curt provides all the supplies for veterans at the classes he leads, so he started the Art of War, a way to fund the supplies needed for the classes. The Art of War is dedicated to helping combat veterans through art therapy. The purpose of the program is to connect veteran artists with each other along with venues and businesses that are will to support the artist by displaying artwork done by the veteran. Through the Art of War Curt makes and sells hats, shirts, hoodies and stocking caps with all the proceeds going to help purchase art supplies for veterans suffering from PTSD.
Curt, who currently works as a personal trainer, also has work that can be found in art galleries in Denver and 20 percent of his proceeds from works sold goes to Art of War. He has also recently designed two cans for Columbia’s Rock Bridge Brewing Co.
As if life for the veteran wasn’t busy enough trying to juggle work, veterans’ classes, art shows, and sales for the Art of War project, he is also attending classes at CU Denver to get his BSA in fine arts. After graduation Curt hopes to be able to open a studio where he can hold classes and provide resources for veterans. He would also like to eventually have veteran’s teach art to members in the community that are facing their own struggles.
To learn more about the Art of War and Curt Bean’s amazing work with veterans you can visit their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/ArtOfWarProject?ref=br_tf.
Using art to heal: Curt Bean gets creative to help treat combat veterans suffering from PTSD.
A letter from Curt’s mom Debbie Bean
My son Curtis came to me at the age of 17, his junior year of high school, and asked me to sign his papers so he could join the army.
I was very overwhelmed and speechless at the same time. I knew he had his mind made up and I couldn’t make his decisions for him. We talked and I told him I was behind him all the way.
The night we took him to the hotel and dropped him off, wow, I felt so many emotions, but I knew God would keep me strong for Curtis. I was so proud of him for choosing to fight for our country and then in the same breath I was thinking of the danger he would be in.
I knew as phone calls came in and letters delivered my weeping lessened some days because my faith became stronger and stronger.
I reached out to my friends and family and churches to pray for Curtis during his journey in the Army that would last for four and a half years. People would ask me how I was getting through this tough time while at Wal-Mart. I would let them know God gets me through everyday good or bad. I used one of my favorite scriptures Philippians 4:13 changing it slightly and saying, “I pray my son can do all things through Christ who strengthens him.” I bought the book, “Praying Gods Will for my Son” and it helped a lot.
I am thankful Curtis asked for help for his PTSD. We all need to be aware how blessed we are that we have these men and women fighting for our freedom.
Like I told Curtis time and time again through his tours to Iraq, God will give you strength to get through it all. I also had told him that God had great plans for your life son. Being his mother I couldn’t be more proud and supportive through this next journey God has planned for his life.
Curtis has been paying it forward by letting people know things can get better and there are healing support groups out there.
May God bless our troops and veterans,