Our primary mission is to provide training in art and business education to motivated military veteran artists in order that they may successfully pursue new careers in the fine arts as artists, teachers, or administrators. A powerful side benefit from these activities is a substantial reduction of the depression associated with PTSD and the re-integration of these veterans into a fulfilling and useful role in civilian society.
New Century Art Guild….A Story of Hope
The stigma of suicide is so painful that most people in our society cringe at the mere mention of the word, much less want to discuss it. The added anathema of military and veteran suicides has most people walking away from the subject, as it's too horrific to contemplate. But the fact remains: as of mid- 2016, the reported number of service member suicides since 2003 was 59,540. (By comparison, the total number of names on the Vietnam Wall Memorial is 58,307). Currently, the number of military/veteran suicides maintains a (reported) rate of 20 per day, or about 7,300 suicides per year. This rate has remained consistent since the VA first started tracking the phenomenon in 2008.
So, what's to be done?

Across the country, numerous 501(c)(3)'s have sprung up with the stated purpose of reducing PTSD suicides. The most successful of these concentrate on so called cognitive involvement therapies (i.e., activities that engage both sides of the brain). Clinical studies indicate that the creative process of making art, music and writing have tremendous potential for positive cognitive involvement, thus reducing the symptoms of PTSD --and potentially reducing the rate of PTSD-related suicides.

In 2004, an art professor at Iowa Western Community College was told by one of his veteran students that suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) that his symptoms were significantly reduced after making a series of charcoal drawings related to his war experiences; ending 35 years of his recurrent nightmares. By 2011, with the help of veterans and other artists, the same instructor solidified the concept of art therapy (in any media) for PTSD into a 501(c)(3) tax-deductible charity called the New Century Art Guild (NCAG) based in Kimballton, Iowa. By 2016, over 1000 veterans (and their families) who suffer from PTSD had participated in NCAG's free art workshops and events, many participants showed significant relief from their anxiety and PTSD-related stress.
In addition to therapeutic art making, NCAG also provides training in art and business-of-art education to motivated military veteran artists in order that they may successfully pursue new careers in the fine arts as artists, teachers, or administrators as they reintegrate into civilian society. While there are many "art-focused" organizations that focus solely on the therapeutic aspects of art making, NCAG is one of few organizations to offer:

• Free gallery services and exhibition space
• Free art instruction to veterans and their families
• Free business advice
• Art instructor job placement for interested veterans
• Instructors fees of $25 an hour + expenses…..commensurate with area adjunct college professors

At the most basic level, NCAG provides free art classes to veterans and their families at the "Participant Level" (Level 1) to educate them in the fine arts and introduce them to the techniques used in various artistic mediums, while simultaneously reducing the internal stresses inherent to PTSD.

As veteran participants gain skills in their selected medias, their comfort level and competencies increase and they can, themselves, become instructors in the various groups and workshops that NCAG manages. Selected veteran students who complete the "Instructor Level" (Level 2) competencies earn a certificate enabling them to instruct classes at the Participant Level. Veteran instructors are paid at a rate commiserate for adjunct professors in area colleges, generally $25 to $30 an hour plus mileage. At this time, Level 2 includes approximately 100 veteran students who show an aptitude and enthusiasm for teaching and leading others.

Classes, as always, are free to the participants and are held in a variety of venues, that include: retirement homes, nearby college campuses, special needs organizations (Santa's Workshop), Dodge County Jail (Veterans' Wing), National Guard Armories (Yellow Ribbon activities), Army One Source job fairs/Veteran's Appreciation Days, Air Force Wounded Warrior Job Fairs, and VA art classes. As the number of teaching opportunities increase, NCAG employs more veteran instructors in a variety of settings best suited to their temperaments and interests

If the veteran artist's skills reach a commercially viable level in the art world, NCAG considers them to be part of the Professional Level (Level 3). NCAG provides these veteran artists with gallery space in which to exhibit and sell their works in solo and group exhibitions with 100% of their sales going to the veteran-artists themselves. NCAG will also provide promotion and business guidance to assist their professional studio development and formation their own companies, if they so desire.

The NCAG model has been validated in several communities and we have several requests to set up additional schools/galleries across the country. A franchise handbook and operation manual is being developed as we prepare for widespread adoption. NCAG has been vetted by the Better Business Bureau, certified as meeting every requirement in all 20 areas of examination, and been awarded the Accredited Charity ® logo (bbb.org). NCAG's 501(c)(3) and BBB accreditation that are nationally recognized in all 50 states
Veteran/Artist Mario Lopez

Sgt. Mario Lopez was born in Corpus  Christi, Texas in 1984. Growing up he expressed his artistic side on any medium he could find. Motivated by the 9/11 tragedy, Mario joined the U.S. Army in 2003. In 2005 he deployed to Iraq, and then again to Afghanistan in 2007. While on mission he was hit with an IED and was seriously injured. He endured burns on 54% of his body, a right arm amputation, loss of vision on his right eye, and loss of four fingers on his left hand. He was rushed to San   Antonio Military Medical Center August 2008. Mario was awarded the Purple Heart for his bravery and sacrifice. During his recovery, Mario turned to painting once again. He discovered it to be therapeutic during his time of healing. Mario's art work includes landscape, abstraction his own designs. Mario has a very positive attitude toward life despite great adversity and climbing many of "life's mountains". His paintings are reflective of his perseverant spirit and unwavering faith in Jesus Christ. He is proud to bring hope to others through sharing his faith, his paintings and his personality. Mario has a motto, "life is worth Living!" As a token of our thanks for his service to the country and his inspiration of others through art Mario was made a lifetime member on  March 22, 2014.