September 13, 2018 | By Heidi Tournoux-Hanshaw, MA, LPC-AT-S, ATR-BC, ATCS, Conference Chair

Are you ready to network with art therapists from around the world?  The 49th AATA Annual Conference, to be held October 31 to November 4, 2018 in Miami, FL provides a perfect venue to meet new colleagues and explore the diversity of our profession.  The conference is an excellent way to meet and interact with the AATA national office staff, board members, and art therapists from around the world.  Conference presentations are just one way to make the conference a meaningful experience, read on for more ways to network and make the most of all the opportunities conference has to offer.

Be sure to visit the networking tables in the Exhibit Hall on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday during lunch and purchase a-la-carte menu items to enjoy while you network with colleagues.  Enjoy conversations and complimentary coffee and tea during the morning networking breaks on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  The coffee is set-up just outside the plenary room a half hour before the sessions begin.

All conference attendees are invited to the Annual Meeting of the Membership, on Friday, November 2, from 8:30 to 10:00 a.m., where The AATA Board of Directors will share the Association’s Strategic Plan and updates on progress and activities. In addition, attendees will witness the installation of the newly elected board members.

Dialogue directly with members of the AATA Board during the Town Hall Meeting on Saturday from 12:00 to 12:50 p.m.  This is your opportunity to interface with Board members, to share your ideas for advancing art therapy.

The Local Arrangements Committee is also planning several informal “meet and greet” opportunities for individuals who identify with any of these groups: LGBTQIA, Multicultural, and Men.  These events, designed for conference attendees to make connections with peers, are scheduled for Wednesday, October 31, from 5:00-7:00 p.m. in various locations around the main lobby and hotel bar and.  If there are additional groups that would like to convene meet-ups, please email

Be sure to review the entire program for other networking opportunities including the Social Justice Caucus, Special Session for Students, Art Therapists of Color, Asian Art Therapists Focus Group and several groups and sessions for art therapy educators.  The online schedule is a good place to search the program for “key words”.

A Meet up is scheduled for Retired and Retiring attendees on Friday, from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. in the Open Art Studio.  Participants will complete a unique art activity, share their experiences, meet other retirees, and have some bonding time.

An International Shared Interest Group will be held on Wednesday, October 31 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.  This meeting is for those living and working in other countries, international students in the U.S., or anyone interested in international art therapy.  The meeting takes the place of the International Exchange or Focus Group held at previous conferences.  Come network with art therapists from various regions of the world where you can discover what is happening and inform others of your interests and skills.  Click here for more information.

The Newcomer’s Session on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. is a time for first-time attendees to meet other first-time attendees, receive an informative overview of the conference and learn tips from experienced conference leaders.

In early October AATA will introduce our 2018 Conference Mobile App.  One of the apps’ features is a personalized itinerary builder.  The conference has many exciting and overlapping offerings so make sure to have an outline or at least a rough idea of what you’d like to attend.

If you have not yet registered, complete your registration today:  Register online; register by phone: (888) 290-0878, (703) 548-5860, or download the registration form and register by fax(credit cards only) or mail.

AATA Members receive a discount on conference registration.  To join or renew, visit: or call (888) 290-0878 or (703) 548-5860.

Visit the conference website for more information!