Creative Therapy: Art Night to feature pieces by veterans

HARLINGEN — For Arnie Rodriguez, drawing or creating art were not his first hobbies to turn to, but after being introduced to them, they are what relaxes him the most.

Rodriguez, 53, of Brownsville, is a veteran and retired in 2014. He has been a part of a PTSD group at the VA Hospital, where he was introduced to drawing as a relaxation outlet.

Friday’s Harlingen Art Night will feature one of Rodriguez’s creations – a wooden tree with PTSD symptoms written on tags created.

This will be the first time Rodriguez will attend the D’Arte Centre Gallery.

“We cover different topics every week. One day it could be anxiety or hopelessness, and we talk about how to cope with it,” Rodriguez said.

“To me, art calms me down and relaxes me when I am by myself,” he said.

According to Rodriguez, his drawings represent the way he is feeling a certain day. He began to draw about a year ago.

Rodriguez enjoys drawing superheroes, Marvel characters, dolls and just recently, he started to do portraits.

Woodworking is another one of his pastimes.

“I started doing woodworking about three years ago. I even make swings. I stain them and make them look old,” he said.

“It takes me awhile, but it gets stuff off my mind,” Rodriguez said.

For him, having others look at his art work on Friday is an opportunity to talk about what veterans go through.

“Maybe it will bring awareness to people that don’t know what PTSD is. I think we need more people to be aware of it and what veterans go though,” he said.

Rodriguez said drawing allowed coping to get easier.

When he started drawing on his own, it was difficult to start and was told to draw what was on his mind.

This year, his son asked him what he wanted for his birthday. Rodriguez asked for an art kit.

“My favorite superhero is Captain America,” he said.

“But I am working on Wonder Woman for now,” Rodriguez said.

WHAT: Harlingen Art Night

WHEN: Friday, Nov. 29 from 6 to 9 p.m. (last Friday of the month)

WHERE: Jackson Street

INFO: On Facebook, Harlingen Art Night