February 13, 2020
Tell us about yourself
I am a multidisciplinary fine artist living and working in the Washington D.C. area. I received a BFA from the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and am currently pursuing a master’s degree in Art Therapy at The George Washington University. Born in D.C., my work reflects the myriad of people and cultures I’ve experienced from a very young age and the contributors to my experiential ancestry. I attended Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland, where as a member of the Montgomery Scholars program I was able write and present two scholarly pieces at the Beacon conference and was awarded first place in the Category of the arts in 2009 and 2010. I graduated from UArts in 2013 and was named Valedictorian of my class. I spent the last several years working as a special education teacher and behavior therapist for children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders and other developmental disabilities. I am deeply passionate about contributing to advocacy for and allyship to various marginalized groups and credit the creative process as a valiant companion to have the kinds of difficult but necessary conversations on journeys toward justice.
What excites (or inspires) you most about your studies right now?
I feel really engaged in what I am learning right now, and I think continually realizing how expansive art therapy is what excites and inspires me most about entering the field. There is so much need for what art therapy does and it can fit in so many spaces.
Has working with a particular client group shaped your professional focus or specialty? What have you learned from working with these clients?
Working with young people with developmental disabilities outside of the field of art therapy brought my focus back into some of the most fundamental ways the creative process, art making and co-creating can foster communication. This is only magnified as I complete my clinical internships. It is exciting to continue to explore how to learn to develop my allyship with this community, not becoming any one individual’s voice but by supporting others to find their own.
What advice would you give someone interested in pursuing a career in art therapy?
Be open to the possibilities, ways and spaces to work in, and different perspectives. You never know what will speak to you.
“Cheeze an’ bread” by Claire Kalala. Oil on Canvas. 2015.