Rash of Fall Colors by Dennis Hicks Photo by Jeremy Lock

The United States Veterans’ Artists Alliance (USVAA) is an award-winning, multi-disciplinary non-profit arts organization, founded in 2004 by military veterans and artists. USVAA provides opportunities for veterans in the arts by highlighting the work of veterans in the arts, humanities and entertainment industry along with the contributions veterans have made to the rich cultural history of our nation since the Revolutionary War.

Additionally, USVAA networks with veterans, artists, supportive individuals and organizations within the arts and veterans’ communities to find funding and support for individual artistic projects in theater, film, television, the visual/fine arts and a wide variety of crafts.

Where possible, USVAA strives – as spokespersons in the veteran’s community and in our endeavors as artists – to address issues of concern to veterans and their families via artistic endeavors and platforms. These issues include the transition from military to civilian life, education, employment, the effects of wartime and military service injuries such as PTSD, TBI and Military Sexual Trauma (MST) and homelessness among veterans.

For more information about our work please visit our ABOUT PAGE.

From Everyone at USVAA, Season’s Greetings


THANK YOU FROM USVAA


USVAA would like to thank everyone who made the production of WAR WORDS, written by Michelle Kholos Brooks and directed by Justin Reinsilber, possible — including our amazing casts and crew.

Both productions, presented in honor of Veterans Day 2021 at the Intrepid Museum in NYC on November 9th and at The Actors’ Gang in Los Angeles, on November 11th, were sold-out performances.

A special thank you to our generous sponsors and producing partners:

Atlantic Council

Sony Pictures

New York Rep

The Family of Robert Wood Johnson III

Northern Trust




Karen Struck in conversation with Timothy Wurtz

USVAA and Onward Press cordially invite you to join screenwriter, Karen Struck, (THE GOOD DOCTOR)
and Timothy Wurtz IN CONVERSATION, Monday, November 15th at 6 pm

Monday, November 15th
6:00pm-9:00pm PDT


IN CONVERSATION is part of our newly expanded, free, monthly workshop series for military veterans who write screenplays, teleplays, novels, memoirs, and short stories.

This event is open to the general public. Capacity is limited and priority is given to military veterans.


Karen Struck – Prior to screenwriting, Karen Struck worked as an RN in the intensive care unit and as a national healthcare risk management consultant. She has written both television films and episodic dramas, including MONDAY MORNINGS, THE NIGHT SHIFT, THE GOOD DOCTOR, and most recently, on Hank Steinberg/Fifty Cent’s drama FOR LIFE.

She is a two-time Humanitas Prize finalist. For an episode of MONDAY MORNINGS co-written with David E. Kelley, and for her Hallmark film, CHARLIE AND ME.

Karen lives in Westlake Village, CA.

Timothy Wurtz is a screenwriter, a USVAA Colleague and the Publisher at Onward Press, an imprint of USVAA.



USVAA is Thrilled to Announce
an Official Partnership with Curate Art Group

Pilot Program Connects Veteran Artists with Fortune 500 Clients

USVAA Artists Selected for the Pilot Program:

Monty Little imparts energy into his figures and patterns while drawing on his Indigenous background. He served as a firearm leader for the Marine Corps, and has showcased his fine art around the world.


Rick Grime. Society taught Rick Grime to reject the color pink simply because it’s categorized as “feminine”. He now states: “I paint those shapes and colors I once rejected as an act of defiance and appreciation. Defiance against my own social conditioning, and appreciation for the beauty of all color and form.”


Angie Blevins blends landscapes into relaxing abstracts with believable texture. She’s available for commissions. She served as an illustrator draftsman for the Navy, and as an illustrator, carpenter, and photojournalist for the Maine Army National Guard.


Ed Carrion’s mastery of the brush reveals not only lively colors and shapes, but also fantastical worlds. His work “is reminiscent of symbolists who believe art is an expression of the emotion rather than merely a replication.”

Curate Art Group is proud to support diverse artists, especially those serving our country. Curate Art Group reached out to USVAA in early summer 2021, starting with a pilot program of onboarding a handful of the high-caliber artists in the USVAA cohort. By September, Curate Art Group not only established relationships with several veteran artists, but also sent their artworks to hundreds of customers. The response was overwhelmingly positive; top clients commented:

“I love this – that it’s vets, plus the art is fun! I’m a military spouse so this is really great to see the support even through art!”

“Love supporting our troops!!”

Curate Art Group makes art that matters for their clients, which include Fortune-500 brands such as: Marriott International, MGM International, Hilton International, Federal Home Loan Bank, and many others.

Believe it or not – some projects require 3,000+ pieces of artwork to fill the guest rooms and public spaces, and at times the timeline ranges from a few months to a couple of years following the schedule of large construction projects. Curate Art Group is ecstatic to begin these long-lasting relationships to increase exposure for talented, veteran creatives.

From here, Curate Art Group hopes to add even more veteran artists to their offerings and continue sharing their art with clients. If you’re interested in joining their portfolio or starting an art project, please email hello@curateartgroup.com

Now the USVAA has a partner to not only share the work of their veteran artists, but to also manage and negotiate commercial art projects, which is exciting! Both USVAA and Curate Art Group feel optimistic for the future.

WAR WORDS

by Michelle Kholos Brooks

The Atlantic Council, NewYorkRep and the United States Veterans’ Artists Alliance
PRESENT


November 9, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.

At the Intrepid Sea Air & Space Museum
Pier 86, 12th Ave. & 46th Street, New York City

November 11, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.

At The Actors’ Gang Theater Company
9070 Venice Blvd., Culver City


Marc Klein in conversation with Timothy Wurtz

USVAA and Onward Press cordially invite you to join screenwriter, Marc Klein, (SERENDIPITY, A GOOD YEAR)
and Timothy Wurtz IN CONVERSATION, Monday, Oct. 18th at 6 pm

Monday, October 18th 6:00pm-9:00pm PDT


IN CONVERSATION is part of our newly expanded, free, monthly workshop series for military veterans who write screenplays, teleplays, novels, memoirs, and short stories.

This event is open to the general public. Capacity is limited and priority is given to military veterans.


Marc Klein has written many well-known screenplays, including the romantic comedy classic Serendipity, as well as A Good Year, directed by Ridley Scott. His upcoming film,The In Between, stars Joey King and is based on his novel of the same name. Klein resides in Los Angeles.

Timothy Wurtz is a screenwriter, a USVAA Colleague and the Publisher at Onward Press, an imprint of USVAA.



Marc Klein (left) and Timothy Wurtz (right)

LA Film Festival NewFilmmakers Los Angeles

October 15th and 16th

USVAA Colleague Jen LaVita’s work featured at upcoming “Work From Home”
exhibition at the Santa Paula Museum

Opening Saturday, September 18 2021



Michelle Kholos Brooks in conversation with Sam Wolfson

We cordially invite you to join us for the USVAA and Onward Press
IN CONVERSATION Series via Zoom

Monday, September 20th 6:00pm-9:00pm PDT


IN CONVERSATION is part of our newly expanded, free, monthly workshop series for military veterans who write screenplays, teleplays, novels, memoirs, and short stories.

This event is open to the general public. Capacity is limited and priority is given to military veterans.


Michelle Kholos Brooks is an award-winning playwright. Her awards and distinctions include the Susan Glaspell Award for Hitler’s Tasters, the Reva Shiner Comedy Award for Kalamazoo, co-written by Kelly Younger. Hitler’s Tasters was also named ‘Best of Fringe’ at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe by The Stage UK. The filmed stage version of Hitler’s Tasters was listed as a Must-Watch by the LA Times and selected for The Kilroys: The List 2020. Hostage was a finalist for the Woodward/Newman Drama Award, The Fratti-Newman Political Play Contest and a Showcase finalist for the National New Play Network. Chair received second place in the Firehouse Theatre Festival of New American Plays.

Plays have been produced and/or developed at a number of theaters including Arena Stage, the Skylight Theatre (World Premiere, Hostage) Centenary Stage (World Premiere, Hitler’s Tasters), Pacific Resident Theatre, Adirondack Theatre Festival, Bloomington Playwright’s Project (Rolling World Premiere, Kalamazoo), The Colony Theatre (World Premiere, Family Planning), Boston Court Theatre, The Road Theatre Company, Wordsmyth Theatre, Venue 9 Theatre, Laurel Grove Theatre Company, 59E59th St. Theatre, Olive Theatre; Greenside at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and The Electric Lodge.

Publications include Dramatists Play Service, Room literary magazine and The Daily Beast. Brooks earned a B.A. from Emerson College and an M.F.A. in Fiction from Otis College of Art and Design. She is a member of The Dramatists Guild of America, The Playwright’s Center and Pacific Resident Theatre. In addition, she is a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council, Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security.

Sam Wolfson is a playwright and screenwriter. His many credits include TALL GIRL I and II and JEWTOPIA. He is a USVAA Colleague and USVAA/Onward Press Veteran Writers Workshop Mentor.



Michelle Kholos Brooks (left) and Sam Wolfson (right)

CNNi: Steve Miska Discusses Kabul Airport Attack with Michael Holmes



Miska, a leading advocate for Afghan and Iraqi Military Interpreters and author of the new memoir “Baghdad Underground Railroad” (Onward Press) speaks with CNN’s Michael Holmes about the Kabul airport attack and continuing to evacuate wartime allies from Afghanistan.

Click on the blue play button on the embedded Tweet to watch the video. 



KTLA5 – Veterans and nonprofit organizations in downtown L.A.
help with evacuations in Afghanistan




A coalition of veterans and nonprofit organizations are helping not only U.S. citizens get out of Afghanistan, but also the people of Afghanistan who helped us troops carry out their mission for the past 20 years and their families.

Retired Army Col. Steve Miska, who served three combat tours in Iraq, is at the helm of the Evacuate Our Allies operation center in downtown L.A. He ran a similar underground mission to get interpreters and their families out of Iraq.

“As veterans, and these are somebody who went on patrol with us every day, we feel we owe them. They saved our lives, we’re going to take them with us,” Miska said.

Aaron Carew in conversation with Timothy Wurtz

We cordially invite you to join us for the USVAA and Onward Press
IN CONVERSATION Series via Zoom

Monday, August 16th 6:00pm-9:00pm PDT


IN CONVERSATION is part of our newly expanded, free, monthly workshop series for military veterans who write screenplays, teleplays, novels, memoirs, and short stories.

This event is open to the general public. Capacity is limited and priority is given to military veterans.


Aaron Carew is a writer and television producer.

In the military, Aaron served in the Army for seven years, most of which was at Fort Campbell. Go Screaming Eagles! He completed two tours in Iraq and was honorably discharged as a Sergeant in 2009.

Soon thereafter, Aaron made the transition into screenwriting. A graduate of USC Film School’s Peter Stark Producing Program, Aaron was personally chosen byMichael Mann to work with on his most recent feature for Universal Pictures.

Aaron was a writer on Fox’s Lethal Weapon, Taken, Dirty John (for which he was nominated for a Writers Guild Award), L.A.’s Finest, the upcoming Power spinoff, FORCE and is currently a writer/supervising producer on Walker, the CW reboot of
Walker, Texas Ranger.

Aaron completed the Veterans Writing Project retreat in 2011 and has since continued to be deeply involved in the veteran/writing community. He’s also a new dad to baby, Maya!

Timothy Wurtz is a screenwriter, USVAA Colleague, a co-founder, and the Publisher of Onward Press, an imprint of USVAA.



Aaron Carew (left) and Timothy Wurtz (right)

BAGHDAD UNDERGROUND RAILROAD with Colonel Steve Miska




Help support the most bipartisan issue on the hill concerning veterans: the effort to exfiltrate thousands of translators and their families from Afghanistan before their inevitable slaughter. These Afghan allies have laid their lives down for our sons and daughters and it’s time we support them with a safe haven. To withdraw with dignity, respecting the military’s ethos of leave no one behind. For more information on what you can do, purchase Baghdad Underground Railroad, the debut memoir from veteran author Col. Steve Miska (ret.). Baghdad Underground Railroad is available for purchase on Amazon and was published by Onward Press, the publishing imprint of USVAA.

Steve Miska is the Director of the nonprofit First Amendment Voice. Since retiring as a Colonel after 25 years of service in the military and three combat tours in Iraq, Steve founded Servant Leader Citizen Consulting, Inc. which helps clients understand national security and counterterrorism issues in an increasingly global environment. Previously, he served in the White House as a Director for Iraq on the National Security Council. In 2007, he led a team that established an underground railroad for dozens of interpreters from Baghdad to Amman to the United States. He earned top academic honors as a Counterterrorism Fellow at the College of International Security Affairs and has taught national security at Marine Corps War College.

Maria Ferrari in conversation with Timothy Wurtz

We cordially invite you to join us for the USVAA and Onward Press
IN CONVERSATION Series via Zoom

Monday, July 19th 7pm-9pm PDT


IN CONVERSATION is part of our newly expanded, free, monthly workshop series for military veterans who write screenplays, teleplays, novels, memoirs, and short stories.

This event is open to the general public. Capacity is limited and priority is given to military veterans.


Maria Ferrari is the Executive Producer/Creator of the hit CBS series UNITED STATES OF AL.

Maria began her career as a script coordinator for the television series “Blue Collar TV” and “How I Met Your Mother,” on the Network. She went on to write multiple scripts for both shows before joining “The Bill Engvall Show” as a staff writer.

Next, Ferrari joined “The Big Bang Theory,” on the Network, where she rose to executive producer and was nominated for three Emmy Awards for Outstanding Comedy Series. Additional television credits include “Young Sheldon,” also on the Network.

Ferrari is a graduate of Northwestern University and resides in Los Angeles.

Timothy Wurtz is a screenwriter, USVAA Colleague, a co-founder, and the Publisher of Onward Press, an imprint of USVAA.



Maria Ferrari (left) and Timothy Wurtz (right)

Washington Post Live Event Featuring Gen. David Petraeus and Col. Steve Miska



Monday, June 28 at 9:00am ET

The longest war in U.S. history is coming to an end with the planned withdrawal from Afghanistan. But what and whom will America be leaving behind?

Join Washington Post Live on Monday, June 28 at 9:00am ET, when columnist David Ignatius interviews General David Petraeus (Ret.), the former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, Col. Steve Miskaauthor of “Baghdad Underground Railroad: Saving American Allies in Iraq” (Onward Press/USVAA) and Fraidoon Akhtari about the withdrawal and his concerns regarding the personal safety of Afghans who helped America on the ground for much of the past two decades. Petraeus will lay out his fear of an “indelible stain” on the U.S. unless we take care of those who helped us, including interpreters and contract workers.

To Register for this event please visit Washington Post Live.

CNNi: Steve Miska Discusses Strategies to Protect Afghan Interpreters with Michael Holmes



Miska, a leading advocate for Afghan and Iraqi Military Interpreters and author of the new memoir “Baghdad Underground Railroad” (Onward Press) speaks with CNN’s Michael Holmes about what the United States owes its allies in-country allies in Afghanistan ahead of U.S. withdrawal.

Click on the blue play button on the embedded Tweet to watch the video. 



WHAT DOES AMERICA OWE TO VETERANS OF ITS 21ST-CENTURY WARS?

A Zócalo/Pacific Council/USVAA Event

TUESDAY, JUNE 1st, 2021 9:00 AM PDT


Moderated by Emma Sky, Director of the Maurice R. Greenberg World Fellows Program, and a Senior Fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute


We may never know the full toll of the post-9/11 wars. The staggering cost of the two-decade-long conflict, and its future consequences, are only just beginning to be understood as the United States prepares to fully withdraw troops from Afghanistan and Iraq before the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. As the final chapter of America’s longest war nears, what are the biggest problems facing veterans returning home? What does it mean to be a military vet in the U.S. today? And what does the U.S. government owe local allies, such as the translators and interpreters who served alongside American forces?

Steve Miska, a United States Army veteran who retired as a Colonel after 25 years in the Army, led the “Baghdad Underground Railroad” that helped dozens of interpreters escape sectarian violence in 2007. The author of a new book chronicling that experience, Baghdad Underground Railroad: Saving American Allies in Iraq, he is currently the executive director of First Amendment Voice, and conducts pro bono work to support nonprofits that help former interpreters. Miska visits Zócalo to discuss the cost of war.



Steve Miska (left) and Emma Sky (right)

STEVE MISKA’s ONWARD PRESS BOOK
“BAGHDAD UNDERGROUND RAILROAD”
IN THE PRESS
USA TODAY – As U.S. troops exit Afghanistan, ‘leave no one behind’ must include military interpreters

In Iraq, I witnessed our former interpreters, their families, and other allies in a fight for their lives.


San Clemente Times – Local Veteran Publishes Book on Operation to Save Foreign Allies
A new book by Col. Steve Miska of San Clemente offers a first-person account of how he and his teammates worked to overcome policy failures and broken policy failures and broken promises while protecting the nation’s most reliable combat partners in the War on Terror: foreign military interpreters.

Jalysa Conway in conversation with Timothy Wurtz

The USVAA and Onward Press Veterans Writing Workshop Series via Zoom

Monday, May 17th at 7pm PDT


This workshop is part of our newly expanded, free, monthly workshop series for military veterans who write screenplays, teleplays, novels, memoirs, and short stories.


Jalysa Conway spent five years working as a Cyber Warfare Officer in the U.S. Air Force, and has been read into things that’d make you want to crap your pants. Since then, she’s traded in her Top Secret Clearance for a career as a professional television writer. She has written for GREY’S ANATOMY and POWER BOOK IV: INFLUENCE, a short-lived spinoff of Starz’s top drama. She currently writes for Fox’s #1 new drama, 9-1-1: LONE STAR. But true to her inner nerdy self, she has also freelanced for LAST KIDS ON EARTH, an animated Netflix zombie series for kids, and has written a futuristic action short for SOLDIER STORIES, a Top Cow military veteran-themed comic anthology. Her life’s goals are world domination and to bring fresh, diverse, and inclusive tales to genre television.

Timothy Wurtz is a screenwriter, USVAA Colleague, and the Publisher of Onward Press, a publishing imprint of USVAA.



Jalysa Conway (left) and Timothy Wurtz (right)

ONWARD PRESS PUBLISHES
“BAGHDAD UNDERGROUND RAILROAD”
by Steve Miska


USVAA’s publishing imprint, Onward Press, is proud to present our latest book, Baghdad Underground Railroad by Steve Miska. In this compelling memoir that illustrates humanity and compassion in the midst of war, Steve Miska highlights the plight of local allies, who are essential to the American cause in foreign wars but are often left behind. He also offers an insider’s look at the complex and frustrating political reality of Iraq facing U.S. commanders and policymakers following the downfall of Saddam Hussein.

You can read more about the book and purchase it on Amazon.

Tony Camerino in conversation with Sam Wolfson

The USVAA and Onward Press Veterans Writing Workshop Series via Zoom


Monday, April 19th


This workshop is part of our newly expanded, free, monthly workshop series for military veterans who write screenplays, teleplays, novels, memoirs, and short stories.

Tony Camerino is a writer known for his work on all five seasons of the hit CBS drama Person of Interest. He has written on three other television dramas (A.P.BTaken, and The Enemy Within), and developed original projects for Netflix, Amazon, and Fox. His feature script Landslide (co-written with Will Staples), based on his military memoir How to Break a Terrorist, made the 2015 Blacklist. He also authored Kill or Capture (St. Martin’s Press).

Camerino is a combat veteran (Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq) and retired with 20 years of service in the Air Force and Air Force Reserves. As a senior military interrogator for a Special Operations Task Force in Iraq, he personally conducted or supervised over 1,300 interrogations. Camerino was awarded the Bronze Star Medal for his achievements, including leading the interrogations that located Abu Musab Al Zarqawi, the notorious Al Qaeda leader and ISIS founder, who was killed in a subsequent airstrike. An outspoken critic of torture, he frequently appears as an interrogations expert on television and radio and has published Op-Eds in The New York TimesThe Washington PostThe Los Angeles Times, and a cover story, “Martyrdom, Interrupted,” in The National Interest. Camerino has trained U.S. Army interrogators, US Marshals, and foreign interrogators from 15 countries. He is also a Fellow at UCLA’s Burkle Center for International Relations.

Sam Wolfson is an established screenwriter, playwright, and actor. He’s the co-creator of JEWTOPIA, one of the longest running and fastest recouping productions in Off-Broadway history. Wolfson co-penned the book based on the play, Jewtopia: The Chosen Book for the Chosen People, and co-wrote the screenplay for the 2012 JEWTOPIA movie adaptation starring Jennifer Love Hewitt. Wolfson’s second original comedy play, PLAYDATES, ran for over a year in Los Angeles to sold-out crowds. He wrote for all three seasons of the hit MTV drama “Finding Carter.” He served as both writer and co-producer all for three seasons of the groundbreaking Disney Channel comedy “Andi Mack,” which introduced the first gay character in Disney Channel history.


For any questions please contact Keith Jeffreys at keith.jeffreys@usvaa.org


COVID-19 Crisis Resources for Artists


We hope this finds you well in this extraordinarily difficult time.

We have added a COVID-19 Resources page to our website. So far, we have added links compiled by the Headlands Center for the Arts and Los Angeles Times Staff Writer Anousha Sakoui, as well as resources courtesy of Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager. Our many thanks for their efforts.

We trust that you already have access to VA and local resources, but if you don’t and need assistance, we’re here to help you.

Also, we’re in close contact with officials at the municipal, county, state and federal level in the Los Angeles area as well. We’re happy to reach out to those representatives to advocate on your behalf for needed services.

Additionally, we’re available to contact those representatives in your local area should you be experiencing difficulty with local and regional service providers.

Please be safe and feel free to contact us should you know about additional emergency resources for artists in your state and we’ll add them to our growing list.