June 9, 2020 | Susan Boxer Kappel, MA, ATR-BC, LCAT, CGP, Conference Chair


The recent events following the killing of George Floyd have yet again opened a deep wound of racial injustice in our country. We are all mourning and grasping at ways to contribute to solutions. As a community of art therapists, we have been at the frontlines of helping clients and communities to cope with Mr. Floyd’s horrific death, while at the same time still reeling from the death and separation caused by Covid-19.

Now more than ever, we need healing. The conference committee is working to make sure that we provide opportunities at the conference to reflect, discuss and become more mindful of how together we can make a positive difference in our communities, our profession and with our clients. And, time to heal ourselves.

Our Friday plenary, Altered Altars: Collective Healing will be a cornerstone of our efforts to provide the space and content for self-reflection and healing. We thank Lindsey Vance, MA, ATR-BC, Manager, Visual Arts, DC Public Schools organizing this session. Lindsey has been a long-standing leader on the AATA’s Multicultural Committee and is working with a number of Washingtonian social justice and community organizers as well as museum educators to present along with her at this session.

Historically altars are known as raised sacred spaces in which sacrifices and offerings are placed to honor or worship. In a time in which so much is happening in our world, and we are facing so much loss and hardship, many have found new ways to honor and give for the purpose of healing. This idea of an altered altar will join together the creative ways in which the DC community has begun collective healing through celebration and remembrance.

The panelists will share the work they have done to create collective healing spaces and offer participants an opportunity to heal as well. Together we will develop a visual altar during the session. Joining Lindsey at this session will be Elizabeth Dale-Deines, Smithsonian American Art Museum; Aniekan Udofia, Artist/Muralist; Sarah Crappo, Community Engagement, National Building Museum; Bakari Ibrahim, Founder, The Creative School; and Ronald Moten, Community Organizer Focusing on LGBTQ+ Youth.

Please be sure to read our most recent blog post about the contingency plans that AATA is developing to ensure that everyone will have the opportunity to have an “AATA Conference Their Way.”  The safety and well-being of our members, attendees, and volunteers is of the upmost importance to us. The bottom line is that there will be virtual educational content for all registered attendees.

To provide everyone with a little more time to register during early bird, we are extending the deadline to July 8th at 11:59 pm Eastern Time. So whenever you are ready, we invite you to register for the conference during early bird for the lowest rates.

We look forward to sharing additional program highlights in upcoming communications about #AATA2020.