Combat artist, Matt Peace, working on the "Triple Self-portrait".

Combat artist, Matt Peace, working on the "Triple Self-portrait".


Combat Arts San Diego is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides art classes, museum tours, mentoring, art exhibitions, and public art opportunities for post-911 combat veterans and teens incarcerated in Juvenile Hall facilities. Our programming utilizes art making and art viewing to restore cognitive functioning and promote self expression for healing.

By making, viewing, and exhibiting art, participants experience increases in self-confidence, community engagement, and personal expression, as well as reductions in physical pain, anxiety, and depression. Creating visual art makes it possible for our students to communicate with pictures what is difficult to put into words. 

We directly serve active duty service members and veterans within Department of Defense and Veteran’s Administration residential treatment facilities where they are receiving treatment for mental health issues and substance abuse. In addition, our program extends into five units in two Juvenile Hall facilities where thousands of teens are processed through the juvenile justice system annually.

Combat Arts recognizes that our success requires collaboration and partnerships with other nonprofit agencies and institutions. Currently, we are partnered with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, Timken Museum of Art, So Say We All, A Reason to Survive, and Mission Edge.

Founder and artist, Elizabeth Washburn, has been actively working with combat veterans and at-risk teens since 2007 and 2010 respectively. In addition to her Masters in Fine Art, she has over 15 years of experience in education developing content and teaching for diverse populations of students ranging from inner city youth to seniors. She exhibits her personal art in galleries and museums thoughout the United States. You can see her art at

For more information please contact us at: