Combat veterans find healing through art

SAN DIEGO – More than 50 years after serving in the military, a veteran is on a new mission – to express his invisible wounds through art therapy.

Anthony LoBue, also known to many as “Tony the Vet,” served as an Army officer during the Vietnam War, Texas Army National Guard and as an Army reservist. Now, LoBue’s mission is to bring art to veterans throughout San Diego County.

“It helps me forget who I am and what’s happening that I would prefer not to know that’s happening,” said LoBue.

LoBue is talking about the invisible wounds that he and many other combat vets deal with after returning from war. Art therapy is something he says worked for him. His artwork is on display at the Veterans Museum at Balboa Park in “The San Diego County Veterans And Arts Symposium: Changing Veterans Lives Through Art.”

The Veterans Museum at Balboa Park partnered with VetArt to feature a number of bronze art pieces along with other artwork created entirely by combat vets.

VetArt instructor Dr. Mark Jesinoski said art therapy can provide emotional relief by encouraging expression of feelings and concerns. And he says it can also help relieve depression and anxiety.

“If you bring people together you let them know they’re not alone and they matter. You help them to make something and they share that with other people. Pretty soon people are connecting, sharing and working together. They realize they’re not isolated and alone," said Jesinoski.

The pieces are unique and showcase the many views or faces of war. LoBue uses art for healing.

“I believe art making is the ultimate cure,” said LoBue. “I know from my engagement with other veterans, their spouses and their kids that it works for them.”

More information on the artwork and the art therapy program for vets can be found online.