Please note, this article has been edited to reflect the deadline extension from June 15 to July 15, 2020. 

May 7, 2020 | Jill McNutt, Ph.D., ATRL, LPC, ATCS, Research Committee Chair 


Research is a foundational component for the provision of evidence-based practice in social sciences. The Research Committee of the American Art Therapy Association (AATA) is committed to “encouraging, supporting, and promoting a broad base of research that is grounded in diverse methodologies.” The research agenda of the committee is informed by the Delphi study of Kaiser and Deaver (2013) that identified priorities of methods, research questions and populations of particular importance to the field. The research committee, in tandem with the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, and the Multicultural Committee of the AATA supports a broad and inclusive research agenda. Participation in the ongoing research agenda, conversation, and programming supports both developed and developing merits of evidence-based art therapy practice within the U.S. and around the world.

Opportunities to participate in research and learn more about the status of evidence-based practice in art therapy include, annual research grants and awards, paper and panel presentations at the annual conference including a Research Roundtable, and a student poster presentation that includes both graduate and undergraduate contributions. Annually, research awards and grants are offered to members of the AATA.

Current and upcoming applications can be found at the 2020 Award Schedule on MyAATA. The 2020 research awards and grants include, The Rawley Silver Research Award, a Seed Grant for Clinical Art Therapy Research, and the Gladys Agell Award for Excellence in Research. Applications are due by July 15, 2020. Other research resources within the AATA include the Pearlie Roberson Scholarship that celebrates multiculturalism within research through the Multicultural Committee (applications closed on May 1, 2020), and upcoming opportunities through the Task Force on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Reyna H. Zascirinskis, MAATC accepts the 2019 Gladys Agell Award for Excellence in Research during AATA’s 50th Annual Conference in Kansas City, MO. Dr. McNutt is pictured to her left and then-AATA President Christianne Strang, PhD, ATR-BC, CEDCAT-S to her right.


The Rawley Silver Research Award is an ongoing research award offered every year. This year we will be awarding two awards. Its benefactor, Rawley Silver Ed.D., ATR-BC, HLM was committed to advancing the field of art therapy through research. The Silver research award is presented to a research proposal from a voting member(s) of the AATA. The awarded research proposal will be assessed by the review team as viable in moving the field of art therapy forward. The award provides a maximum of $1,000 to annual recipients.

The AATA has made funds available for seed grants over the next three years to advance research within art therapy. The Seed Grant for Clinical Art Therapy Research will be granted to a clinician-researcher collaboration and is intended to support the generation of new research within the field of art therapy. This grant is open to art therapists around the world and requires at least one principal member of the collaboration to be a member of the AATA. The 2020 seed grant offers a maximum $6,000 award. Read more about this opportunity and the projects funded in 2018 here.

The Gladys Agell Award for Excellence in Research is given each year to a graduate student in art therapy who is a student member of the AATA. To qualify for this award, the student research must be applied art therapy research and incorporate a statistical measure. The student research must be completed within one year prior to the award application. The maximum Agell award is $250.

More opportunities for graduate students include an invitation to participate in Research Roundtables and Student Poster Presentations at annual conferences each year. The Research Committee manages the graduate posters and the Education Committee manages undergraduate posters for exhibition. Participation in the poster exhibition offers students the opportunity to share and discuss their work with practicing art therapists and other researchers.

The Research Roundtable happens at the Annual Conference of the American Art Therapy Association each year. Students, junior and accomplished researchers are invited to present research proposals and projects in various phases of completion to an audience of peers, colleagues, and experts. The roundtable invites healthy discourse, various levels of consultation, and feedback for new and ongoing research using a variety of methodologies including, but not limited to quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods, and arts-based.

In efforts to maintain the accessibility of research to the AATA and to the public, the Research Committee also works to compile the following databases, Art Therapy Outcomes Bibliography, Art Therapy Assessment Bibliography, and National Art Therapy Thesis and Dissertation Abstract Compilation. The research committee is pleased to serve the AATA and looks forward your participation!