By Clara Keane  | July 5, 2018 | Advocacy 


Each year, the Government Affairs Committee (GAC) awards grants to chapters to help support their legislative goals.  In 2017, grants were awarded to three chapters, the Southern California Art Therapy Association (SoCalATA), the Arizona Art Therapy Association (AzATA), and the Michigan Association of Art Therapy (MAAT).  The grants funded printed materials, an art therapy workshop, and an art exhibition, all to promote awareness about art therapy and draw attention to legislative efforts that are underway, as well as to existing laws.

Read below for reports about how the 2017 GAC Grant recipients used these funds to further art therapy in their respective states.


SoCalATA Hosts Advocacy Art Show and Workshop All Are Welcomed Here


By Clarissa Greguska, MA, ATR

As one of the recipients of the GAC grant awarded for 2017, SoCalATA was able to secure a two-week art show featuring artists throughout California who spanned across disciplines and interests, including professional art therapists, students, artists, friends and allies of art therapy, and those new to the field of art therapy.  The exhibition, All Are Welcome Here: The Art of Connection, provided visibility and education to the public, highlighting what art therapy entails, who art therapists are, and what diverse populations we serve.  Artists submitted a variety of work, including mixed media paintings, photography and even a wreath–all were emotionally provocative and created a visual sense of inclusivity.

Also using the GAC funds, SoCalATA hosted a workshop titled, Group Art Therapy with Immigrant Communities in Los Angeles as part of the closing of the art show.  Ruth Xilomen Rios LMFT, ATR-BC, provided timely, education on the importance of art therapy advocacy with immigrant communities in the Los Angeles area to attending art therapists and other mental health professionals. She shared information on legislation impacting immigrant communities in California and distributed practical resources aimed at protecting immigrant rights. The workshop concluded with a group art experiential exploring participants’ familial cultural identity to accompany the closing reception of the art exhibition.

SoCalATA has received positive feedback from the show and a major part of its success resulted from the close collaboration with Greenly Art Space. SoCalATA is grateful for Greenly Art Space and for the AATA GAC committee for making this show a reality.  The chapter is already looking for gallery spaces to host this year’s advocacy show!

AzATA GAC Project Grant Experience


By Margaret Carlock Russo, EdD, LCAT, ATR-BC

Following the passage of new title protection and hiring regulation legislation in spring of 2017, the Arizona Art Therapy Association (AzATA) applied for an American Art Therapy Association Governmental Affairs Committee (GAC) Advocacy Project Grant to aid in the education of legislators, employers, and the public regarding the profession and, in particular, how the new legislation impacts hiring and work practices. With the grant award, the chapter was able to hire a graphic designer to create a general brochure about the art therapy profession and how the Chapter supports art therapy in Arizona, an educational flier about the AzATA’s social action project with military families, Pillars of Strength, and a flier announcing the new legislation and describing the steps necessary to insure adherence to the new regulations.

The grant also provided funds to help print the information and create presentation folders that Chapter Board members personally delivered to local business owners, legislators, and the public during invited speaking opportunities and scheduled educational meetings. In addition, electronic versions of the information were and continue to be sent to stakeholders around the state. This is an ongoing educational endeavor that has already resulted in a few new art therapy positions being created in the state. The AzATA Chapter is dedicated to continuing advocacy efforts to broaden awareness of the art therapy profession within the state. Receiving a GAC Advocacy Project Grant provided us with the resources to reach a large number of stakeholders to promote the new state art therapy legislation in a professional and effective manner.

MAAT Shows Off New Swag at Mental Health Fair


By Amber James, MS

MAAT was awarded a $500 grant from AATA’s Governmental Affairs Committee (GAC) to purchase marketing materials for use at mental health events. MAAT is matching the grant amount and has also received $100 of in-kind support from graphic designer Josh Hamman, who did the graphics and art set-up for the materials. With this support, MAAT was able to purchase a tablecloth, stand-up banner, pens, bags, pamphlets, and business cards. MAAT also purchased a collapsible wagon because that’s a lot of swag!

The event was sponsored by Easterseals Michigan and held at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak. MAAT was able to promote art therapy as a profession and network with other organizations that provide mental health services.

This year, the AATA received a record number of applicants, reflecting the growing momentum of art therapy advocates across the country.  2018 grant recipients include: the Buckeye Art Therapy Association (BATA), the Iowa Art Therapy Association (IATA), the Indiana Art Therapy Association (IndieATA), the New England Art Therapy Association (NEATA), and the Tennessee Art Therapy Association (TATA).