ST. CLOUD -- Just a paint brush and a black canvas and the world seems to stand still.

Over the last eight weeks a group of women veterans have been learning to paint at the St. Cloud VA channeling their inner Picasso.

Women Veterans Program Manager Julie Roman Vera says the art program is a way for them to escape and relax from the world.

"They don't have to think about their pain or what ever else is bothering them in their lives. This is kind of like therapy for them," says Roman Vera.

Each artist choose their specific painting and Amy Jo Sobania says each one has a different meaning.

"My dad is a Vietnam Veteran so I try to do the patriotic type stuff," says Sobania.

Local artists have been volunteering their time to teach the veterans how to paint and the St. Cloud VA hopes to continue the program in the Spring.

"The women seem to enjoy doing these paintings so were are going to try and focus on doing something from veterans for veterans," says Roman Vera.

But for the artists like Janice Welle the classes is about friendship and achieving anything you set your mind too.

"All the people here, all the people giving, caring and sharing it's wonderful," says Welle.

Once the paintings are completed the VA plans to display them on the campus.


A group of veterans learn to paint during an art program at the St. Cloud VA. (Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON)