Updated December 14, 2022 | AATA National Office
On November 10, 2022, during the AATA In-Person Conference, we looked back in loving memory to the AATA members who passed away this year. They contributed so much to the field of art therapy and to the lives of the clients and communities they served. Our host Patricia Isis performed a brief ceremony help us reflect and remember those who have been lost in this past year. Afterwards, we created response art in the Open Studio through the remainder of the day and conference.
On December 14, we came together for a Virtual Memorial so that friends and family could join as well.
June E. Bade, MA, ATR-BC, LP, MHP
Richfield Springs, New York
June touched many with her art and writing as a professional artist and art therapist. Her art exhibitions raised awareness about art therapy and its benefits in her community, and often highlighted the work of individuals she supported with developmental disabilities.
In her private practice, Inner Wisdom Art Therapy, she worked with clients to combine creative expressive arts, psychotherapy, healing meditation, and psycho-education integration. She believed that creative and expressive arts could give her clients the creative and healing tools they could use every day to walk their path to wellness and recovery.
June attended the Fashion Institute of Technology and earned her MA in Clinical Art Therapy and Counseling from Long Island University.
Shannon C. Flynn, MA, LCPAT
Shannon served for almost three decades as a research psychologist at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). She was a member of a multidisciplinary team that conducted a groundbreaking research project in the search for genetic markers in schizophrenia.
Shannon also was a practicing art therapist in private practice in the Washington, DC area. She established “The Artful Path,” a community art therapy studio, where, she explained, people with mental health conditions, ADHD, and Autistic people are “free to discover their creativity through the arts and even benefit from the sale of their work, while naturally finding wellness and wholeness along the way.” She was a kind and empathic listener who sought to understand and assist others through her extraordinary compassion and keen intelligence.
Shannon attended The George Washington University, earning a Master of Arts degree in Art Therapy. She also graduated from a post-Master’s program in Clinical Mental Health Counseling at The Johns Hopkins University.
Vija B. Lusebrink, PhD, ATR-BC
Palo Alto, California
Vija was an art therapist, professor, author, and artist. She continued working well into her later years — even writing her last article at age 96!
She grew up in Latvia during WWII and later moved to the United States and went on to receive a BS in chemistry, an MFA in painting. Living in California, became involved in arts and healing, and eventually became one of the founders of art therapy in the United States. In 1974, she began working at the Institute for Expressive Therapies (IET) housed at the University of Louisville in Kentucky. She taught there until her retirement in 1995, which included nine years as the director of IET (1986-1995).
While at the University of Louisville, she completed a doctorate degree where she explored her theories on various levels of artistic expression, including the Expressive Therapies Continuum (ETC), which she refined with her colleague, Sandra (Kagin) Graves-Alcorn. In her 1990 book, Imagery and Visual Expressive in Art Therapy, Vija delved more deeply into the theory of the ETC.
Vija was awarded AATA’s Honorary Life Membership (HLM) in 1995. And the Kentucky Art Therapy Association (KYATA) honored her by bestowing a research award in her name.
Arthur Robbins, EdD, ATR
New York, New York
Arthur, or “Art,” was cofounder of Pratt’s creative arts therapy program and a professor emeritus of creative arts therapy. He will be remembered as a creative leader, educator, author, and art therapist. In 1998, Arthur was recognized by AATA as an Honorary Life Member.
Arthur joined Pratt in 1971, serving first as field coordinator, then full-time professor, and later, chair of the graduate art therapy program. As a licensed psychologist and certified psychoanalyst, he founded the Institute of Expressive Analysis in 1978.
Arthur was a champion of people’s individuality and creativity. As one faculty member described it, “his openness and acceptance validated me” and he too was known to evolve, learning and integrating new knowledge in his own creative way. He called himself a “junk sculptor,” starting with clay and rocks before he moved on to working with metal.
Earlier in his life, Arthur served in the Korean War between 1950 – 1953. He earned a doctorate in psychology from Columbia Teachers College.
Constance Wain Schwartz
Huntington Township, New York
Constance, or “Connie,” was an award-winning artist and served on the faculties of the Art League of Long Island, School of Visual Arts, East Islip School District, and Hofstra’s Graduate Creative Arts Program. She was also active in social justice causes throughout her life, supporting peace during the Vietnam War, women’s rights, migrant farmworkers, and racial equality – and used her artistic and teaching skills to work towards positive change.
Her work in a variety of media – from watercolors to printmaking to mixed media and collage – won the attention of media critics and museum and gallery curators. Phyllis Braff in The New York Times described her work as “mythic, daring and mind-stretching.”
As a promising artist, Connie attended Pratt Institute and Art Students League, and Hunter College. She later earned a Master of Fine Arts in printmaking from C.W. Post College, Brookville, NY. Connie became an art therapist in 1987, training in Pratt Institute’s creative arts therapy program and studying at the Creative Growth Workshop.
Connie worked with people individually and in groups as an art therapist and developed the Center for Creative Connection. She was proud to be a member of an art therapy delegation to visit to the Peoples Republic of China in 1995.
Evelyn Yee, MPS, ATR
New York, New York
Evelyn Yee created art therapy workshops for Asian American populations, worked with families whose children were at risk, and presented at AATA and social work conferences. She co-authored a chapter, edited by Wadeson, Durkin & Perach, in Advances in Art Therapy.