On June 27, 1969, a group of art therapists from across the United States and Canada met in Louisville, Kentucky with the hope of making “art therapy and its relationship to mental health and education more clearly defined and further developed.” Their discussions, which lasted into the early hours of the next day, resulted in the adoption of a constitution for a new organization, the American Art Therapy Association.
What started as a fledgling organization with 20 members has grown to represent thousands of professionals. Our more than 30 educational programs support the students who are the future of our profession, and our national office staff supports all of our members. Together, we have established educational standards, expanded research opportunities, raised public awareness for our profession, and developed a strong, successful national licensure strategy. But there’s still more to be done. The work to secure licensure for art therapists in all 50 states, make diversity, equity and inclusion a core priority, and so much more, continues.
This milestone is also an opportunity for us as colleagues to think about the future of our profession and the next 50 years. What will art therapy look like? What do we want our profession to look like? Who would we want to see at future conferences and who will be our association’s future leaders? What kind of technology will we be using to help address the needs of our clients and the communities in which we serve?
We cannot predict what lies ahead for our future in the next 25 or 50 years, but we want to hear from all of you, our colleagues and community. As part of our 50th anniversary celebration, #AATA50th, we invite you to share your thoughts as we embark on the next 50 years. Please join us by sharing a video with your hopes for the future, or share with us your written thoughts via this form.
In addition, I would like to personally invite each of you to participate in the festivities leading up to the AATA 2019 Conference in Kansas City. There are many ways to get involved, from watching celebratory videos from art therapy educational programs, AATA chapters, and members that showcase our diversity, to making a donation to support the vital programs of our association. You can learn more at https://arttherapy.org/aata50th/.
Happy 50th Anniversary, and here’s looking to our future!
Christianne Strang, PhD, ATR-BC