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Marshall University to receive Creative Forces Community Engagement Grant

Marshall University is one of 41 organizations nationwide selected to receive a Creative Forces® Community Engagement grant.

The $10,000 award will support War Comes Home which will bring together Marshall University theater students and military veterans from the community to co-create and produce an original immersive theater production under the guidance of artists from award-winning Third Rail Projects.

The project, under the direction of professor of anthropology Robin Riner and in collaboration with the School of Theatre and Dance, will bring the innovative medium of immersive theater to West Virginians to provide educational and artistic opportunities for a relatively underserved region.

“Immersive theater provides a compelling format through which community members can experientially share in veterans’ stories,” Riner said.  “Veterans, Marshall students, and members  will actively experience stories told together, fostering community healing. The project uses the arts to engage military veterans in distinctive, meaningful ways to help them process their experiences. My hope is that this project will bring together Marshall students, veterans in WV, and members of Huntington and surrounding communities to foster compassion, mutual understanding, and strength of community.”

Creative Forces Community Engagement Grants are part of the National Endowment for the Arts’ Creative Forces® initiative and are in partnership with Mid-America Arts Alliance.

“These Creative Forces projects provide important opportunities for military-connected individuals and communities to improve resilience and well-being through arts engagement,” said Maria Rosario Jackson, PhD, chair of the National Endowment for the Arts. “Arts and culture are essential to healing, creating connections, and developing healthy communities where all people can realize their full potential.”

Creative Forces®: NEA Military Healing Arts Network is an initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the U.S. Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs that seeks to improve the health, well-being and quality of life for military and veteran populations exposed to trauma, as well as their families and caregivers.

By providing opportunities for engaging in art or artmaking, Marshall seeks to help participants gain a better understanding of themselves and others through creative expression, while increasing their sense of belonging to the community.

Riner has been extensively involved in several veteran-related projects at Marshall including Testament: Recovering Identity after War, co-directed with classicist Christina Franzen, which uses the humanities to help local veterans reflect on their experiences.

For more information on the War Comes Home project, contact Riner at 304-696-2788 or email at

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Leah Payne
Director, University Communications
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