CMSI Town Hall Recap: Creative Outlets Help Ease Pandemic Anxiety, Form Bonds
Posted on July 17, 2020

Embracing one’s creative side can help cope with outside stress, a panel of professional actors said Thursday at a COVID-19 Military Support Initiative town hall.

“During the pandemic where there’s so much time that goes by – and I imagine people on the USS Vinson, where so much time goes by when you can’t get off the ship – there is a calm that kind of happens to you,” said Gilmore Girls actor Scott Cohen. “I think leads to a greater sense of freedom in terms of really discovering who you are and what you love and what you want to do and how you want to do it.”

Cohen appeared on the panel alongside Orange Is the New Black star Annie Golden and Maechi Aharanwa, who has appeared on the shows Placeholders and 30 Rock.

They are all involved with Arts in the Armed Forces (AITAF), a nonprofit group with a mission “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.”

The organization presents programming on bases, in military communities and online.

When we share our stories, it allows us to connect with other people who might be walking the same path or who have experienced similar things and may not have a way to discuss it or start that conversation,” Aharanwa said. “Even outside of being in quarantine, it’s important to have these outlets where we can share and express in order to connect.”

Town hall attendees from military communities across the country said that in recent months they have taken up such activities as writing, painting, music, baking and sewing masks to donate to charity. The coping mechanism has even reached the highest ranks of the military; Laura Hyten said her husband, Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Chairman Gen. John Hyten, has been learning to play guitar during the pandemic.

Air Force photo by Senior Airman Collette Brooks

Post courtesy of the Association of Defense Communities

Leave a Reply