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Recap: 2016 AATA Conference and Friends & Alumni Reception

Published September 16, 2016


intro pictureOn July 6-10, 2016, fifteen students, along with faculty and staff of the FSU Art Therapy Masters Program, traveled to Baltimore, MD, to attend the 47th annual American Art Therapy Association (AATA) Conference and Friends and Alumni Reception.

As a precursor to Dr. Marcia Rosal’s official retirement reception on July 29, 2016, at FSU, friends and alumni of the FSU Department of Art Education were invited to attend a reception in honor of Dr. Rosal’s retirement during the AATA Conference. Hosted by the FSU Art Therapy Association (FSU ATA), the Friends and Alumni Reception was held at Give & Take: An Artistic Experience on Friday, July 8, 2016, at 8:00 PM. Nearly 60 guests were in attendance. Some of which were close companions of Dr. Rosal, who could not be in attendance for her later retirement reception held at FSU.  Also present were members of Florida Art Therapy Association (FATA), Emporia State University, and Notre Dame de Namur University, which all agreed to serve as sponsors for the reception. Guests were able to enjoy cold beverages and hors d’oeuvres while viewing the artwork showcased in the gallery space and network with friends, alumni, current students, faculty, and staff of the department. Later, Dr. David Gussak gathered all of the guests together to deliver a brief speech in honor of Dr. Rosal’s hard work and dedication to the university and field of art therapy. Dr. Rosal was also provided a handmade crown as a parting gift from one of the guests.


Franchesca Lastra Vicente

FranscescaThis was my first time going to the American Art Therapy Conference and I truly enjoyed the experience! It provided me the opportunity to reflect about myself and my future goals as an art therapist, and also meet great pioneers of the field. Every lecture I attended provided me further insight into my favorite areas like geriatrics, mental health, and medical health settings. The workshops I attended and enjoyed included: “Growing a Non-Profit” “Art Therapy in Hospitals” and “Handmade Legacies: Using Art Therapy to Create Final Memories with Hospice Families.” I definitely feel like I will take what I learned from this experience and apply it to my own practice. I can’t wait for next year!


Grace Chartier

This was my first time attending conference and it was well worth it! For me, the most interesting part were the Gracelectures which introduced me to directives and ways of working I had not seen before. One of my favorites included “Layering as a Mechanism of Change in El Duende One-Canvas Process Painting” because of its focus on the art piece as an evolving creation over time. I also enjoyed a lecture by Dr. Joshua Nan (“Mind-Body Treatment for Depression; Clay Art Therapy with the Expressive Therapies Continuum”) as it gave me a better understanding of how clay work (an area I am not very familiar with) can be used with the ETC. On the last day of conference, I attended a workshop (“Creating Imaginal Narratives into a Transcultural Canvas: Reconstructing Identities and Instilling Meaning”) which provided me an opportunity for self-reflection and growth. The conference organizers also did a great job of creating opportunities to socialize and network. The marketplace was especially fun because it was a chance to see the awesome artwork and craft products our colleagues are capable of producing. Overall, I walked away feeling energized about applying some of the knowledge gained to my own work with clients.


Lindsay Bullock

LindsayI had a blast at my first AATA Conference! Being from the Baltimore area, it was especially exciting having conference so close to home and sharing the city I love with the ATA girls. At conference I enjoyed being amongst so many people in one collective place who shared a passion for art therapy. The lectures and workshops I attended inspired different directive ideas, and showcased the applicability of art therapy in so many ways. I particularly enjoyed Bruce Moon’s lecture “Existential Art Therapy: What’s Love Got To Do With It?”.



Madisen Hansen

The 47th annual AATA conference was my first, but will definitely not be my last. It was so exciting to see that I amMaddie part of something bigger than just my small cohort at FSU. It also was exciting to attend lectures and discussions that were so interesting and educational. The majority of what I attended focused on art therapy with children in a variety of environments, but my favorite panels/lectures were “Everything is Awesome?,” “Self-Care Adventure using the Expressive Therapies Continuum,” and “The Sting of Stigma.” I really wanted to attend the one event that was about positive psychology and art therapy, but sadly it was a Master Supervision group, so students were not allowed to attend. I am already seeing how attending conference benefited me, more so in a personal way, but this will lead to better clinical practice in the future. I am very excited for Albuquerque, NM, next November, and can’t wait to hear more about what is in store for this next conference!


Cassandra Szarejko
CassandraThis summer, I attended my first American Art Therapy Association Conference in Baltimore. When you are in such a niche field such as art therapy, often times you are the only one in the room who knows what art therapy even is. Being surrounded by a community that not only understood the field, but also pioneered it and moved it forward was an incredible experience. All the lectures I attended left me with an eagerness to learn more and a growing passion to pursue a career in pediatric art therapy. I attended lectures that focused on this topic such as: proctoring a master supervision class “Art Therapy in Pediatric Medicine,” “Young at Art: Art Therapy with Young Toddlers in a Medical Setting,” and “Culture, Medicine, and Art Therapy: Building a Practice that works” and several more. I cannot wait for next year and put into practice what I learned at conference!


Becca Allen

When I attended the American Art Therapy Conference this year, I had just begun work
on my Masters thesis. It wasBecca such a valuable opportunity to see other people present their research and to see what kinds of studies are currently being conducted in the field of art therapy. Many of the sessions I attended were able to give me inspiration for my study and answer questions that I had about the process. I enjoyed getting to meet some of the prominent members of the American Art Therapy Association, especially those who have a particular interest in biological science and neuroscience, as I do. I was encouraged to see that so many members of the AATA are interested in science. This was particularly evident during the neuroscience focus group session that I attended. In addition to all of the research knowledge and networking that the conference provided for me, I was able to attend sessions that I can use to inform my own practice. I’m definitely looking forward to the next conference!


Rachel Nelms, ATR, LPC, CADC
Phd student

RachelThis is my third AATA conference and the experience just keeps getting better! Each year I am in awe of the trailblazers of professionals who continue to expand, enhance, and shape the field of art therapy head on. It’s such an honor to be a part of a profession that is built upon the foundation of socially responsible practice, healing, and grit. Moreover, the conference as a whole continues to push me to dig deeper, go further, and work towards creating change. Needless to say, I cannot wait for AATA conference 2017.