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Home » News » Art Therapy Symposium “Developing Leadership: Art Therapy Advocacy at Home and Abroad” – Recap

Art Therapy Symposium “Developing Leadership: Art Therapy Advocacy at Home and Abroad” – Recap

Published February 21, 2018

The Department of Art Education’s Art Therapy Program and  FSU Art Therapy Association (FSU-ATA) collaborated with the Florida Art Therapy Association (FATA) to present the art therapy symposium titled Developing Leadership: Art Therapy Advocacy at Home and Abroad.

Taking place from February 3rd to the 5th with three days of events, the art therapy symposium offered a variety of workshops and events to facilitate discussion regarding the meanings of leadership locally and internationally within the field of art therapy.

FSU faculty and students, along with art therapists from around Florida, met for the  Developing Leadership: Art Therapy Advocacy at Home and Abroad symposium. On Saturday night, the opening reception was held on the patio at the Centrale Italian Parlour.  Art Education and Art Therapy Doctoral Candidate Jessie Spraggins Rochford, in her presentation Looking with Mindfulness: Engaging with Art to Reflect and Connect, invited attendees to view a gallery display of  artwork provided by students enrolled in the FSU Art Therapy program. After encouraging them to observe and reflect on the art pieces exhibited, Rochford led the group through a mindfulness exercise and invited attendees to create art in response to their experience witnessing the art display.  Participants were then provided the opportunity to elaborate on their artwork and the underlying experiences and contemplations in a processing session. Through mindfulness, attendees connected to individual art work.

The following morning, the symposium continued with the presentation of Keynote speaker, Wayne Ramirez, MFA, MS, ATR-R, art therapy pioneer and Wisconsin Art Therapy Association founding president and honorary life membership member. In his presentation In Search of Neorico & Art Therapy, Ramirez spoke about a lifetime of art therapy, the expressive arts, art education, and art experiences in Wisconsin, Florida, Puerto Rico, and the US Virgin Islands. He showed attendees a video of the well-known “Arts Mobile,” further elaborating about such project and art therapy advocacy.

The symposium then offered a panel discussion on Developing Leadership Locally: Florida Art Therapy Association with Lindsey Brooks, Holly Ellison, Franchesca Lastra Vicente, and Stephanie Wray, and moderated by FATA president Joseph Scarce, MA, MFT, ATR-BC, and with special guest FSU Chief Legislative Officer Kathleen Mears. Discussions included Mears’ explanations and outlooks on Florida  legislature and art therapy, advocacy for Florida State Art Therapist Licensure, the current climate of the  state legislation, and leadership on the local level. Attendees were provided the opportunity to inquire about art therapy licensure efforts to the FATA board and to Mears. Such panel discussion was followed by another panel discussion, presented by FSU Art Therapy Program faculty Dr. Barbara Parker Bell, Dr. David Gussak, and Dr. Theresa Van Lith, on Developing Leadership Internationally: Florida State University. The FSU faculty discussed their efforts as ambassadors and life-long learners with art therapy collaborative work overseas.

Afterwards, FATA president Joseph Scarce, MA, MFT, ATR-BC, provided the workshop Developing Leadership in Response to Community Trauma and spoke about his efforts in collaboration with Stars of Hope for tragedies such as the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando and hurricane psychological first aid in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.  Participants had the opportunity to create their own Stars of Hope to be sent to those communities impacted by tragedy and in need of hope and support.  The symposium ended with an open art studio session where participants engaged one another and their art-making process in an environment inspired by the Art Hive concept.

The following day, art therapists and art therapy students visited the State Capitol Building to participate in Art on the Hill, spread awareness of art therapy, and speak with legislative representatives about working toward Florida Art Therapy Licensure recognition.

The Department cordially thanks everyone who traveled, attended, spoke, and volunteered to make the art therapy symposium Developing Leadership: Art Therapy Advocacy at Home and Abroad happen at FSU!