CBAW’s annual Memorial Day Collaborative Painting Project enters its third year! Register by April 25th, 2024 to join in.
Are you looking for community as you approach Memorial Day? Join other Veterans and Community Members to create a Collaborative Painting in the month of May. Final digital image will be displayed on Memorial Day.

1. Register to be assigned to paint a portion of the painting.
2. Receive your template and instructions.
3. The first three CBAW Visual Art Workshops in May will be dedicated to completing the collaborative painting. Join Veteran Artists Joe Merritt, Shaun Smith and Valerie Acosta who will provide extra instructions on completing your piece. (May 1st, 8th, 15th)
4. Scan and send your image in by Monday, May20th.

* This year, participants can choose any medium to create their piece. We only ask that you create it on 8″x8″ mixed media paper that can be scanned (no photographs) in the same color palette as the original image.


Joe Merritt

Joe Merritt was medically retired from the United States Marine Corps in 2016 after 10 years of honorable service. Joe rediscovered art during his medical treatment and has a successful career as a professional artist, exhibiting his work and presenting gallery talks across the country. He is a steward of the veteran art community, leading art programming with active duty and veteran populations in DC, MD and VA.

Shaun Smith

Shaun Smith is a Retired U.S. Army Veteran and Fine Artist based in Northern Maine. Shaun served 10 years as a Combat Medic with a tour in Afghanistan. During that time he was awarded The Combat Medic Badge for providing care under fire and a Purple Heart for injuries sustained from a VBIED. Shaun found comfort in art therapy as a way to express his experiences, leading him to enroll into an art university. Shaun graduated from The Academy of Art University of San Francisco with a Bachelors in Fine art Painting in 2021. Shaun dedicates his time to painting landscapes, wildlife, and peaceful moments.

Valerie Acosta

Valerie Acosta served in the United States Air Force for 20 years before retiring in 2022. She is a self-taught visual artist and published photographer. Her mediums include acrylic, gouache, watercolors, pencils, pens, clay and wood. Her art has been exhibited at the Arches Gallery in the Workhouse Arts Center in Virginia. She is also a DoD-certified Master Resilience Trainer and loves to teach resiliency skills that can support mental health and replace misery with happiness.

Community Building Art Works (CBAW)

Community Building Art Works (CBAW) is a charitable organization that builds healthy and connected communities where veterans and civilians share creative expression, mutual understanding, and support through workshops led by professional artists. Seema Reza is the chair of CBAW and facilitates a multi-hospital arts program that encourages use of the arts as a tool for narration, self-care, and socialization for those struggling with emotional and physical injuries.

Click here to see our full calendar of events.

Further details about our workshops, including what to expect & registration instructions, can be found on our FAQ page.