Sept. 19. 2023

We invited members of the AATA community to ask their questions about AATA2023. Here are their questions and the answers from AATA National Office Staff and the Conference Committee.

To learn more about the conference, visit the AATA2023 website, or take a look at the Program Guide.  



What are the differences between registration types? 

There are two options when you register: Full Conference registration and a One-Day Pass. Full Conference registration includes full access to education sessions including general sessions during the Core Program Days (Oct. 26 – 28), on-site Exhibition Hall and Open Art Studio, and physical conference materials. One-Day Passes gives you access to the conference on Core Program Days (Oct. 26 – 28).

Learn more here.

What if I don’t want a Full registration but would like to attend additional events? 

You can purchase a One-Day Pass to attend the sessions on Core Program Days (Oct. 26 – 28). You can also purchase seperately any of the following items: full-day or half-day advanced practice courses, 90-minute workshops, the Night on the Town, and the opening and closing receptions.   

I am not an art therapist but use art with my clients, can I come if I do not have clinical training in art therapy? 

Yes! The goal of AATA’s conference is to educate art therapists and non-art therapists alike about how to use art safely, ethically, and effectively as a therapeutic tool. Education can also be useful in guiding other professionals on the appropriate timing to refer clients to a trained art therapist. 

Do I need to register for the sessions I want to attend prior to Conference starting? 

No, the only events that require you to sign up in advance are workshops and full-day or half-day advanced practice courses. 

Do I have to register for the opening and closing receptions? 

Yes, to participate you must register for each of the receptions separately. This allows us to plan the amount of food and drink to provided.  

Is it possible to change the Advanced Practice Course I am registered for? 

You can change the advanced practice course you registered for to another of the same length (e.g. full-day to full-day) only if the course you wish to switch to still has slots available. Please contact someone in the office for more information.


If you have accessibility needs, please be sure to contact the National Office at

Will there be simultaneous translation into Spanish? 

Unfortunately, we cannot offer any translation services at this time.  

Will there be sign language interpreters? 

Yes, in order to best accommodate our members, we ask that you reach out to to share the events you plan to attend so we can have an interpreter present. 




There are a variety of session formats, some are large and some are small. While the vast majority of sessions are open to everyone, some sessions are restricted to members of a community or education background.

What are the standard program offerings? 

Plenary sessions: These sessions occur every morning and last about 90 minutes. They include presentations by guest speakers, including the conference’s keynote speaker Roberto Lugo, who will be speaking on Friday, Oct. 27. The speakers for Thursday and Saturday will be announced via email. 

  • Papers: Lecture-style presentations that have between 1-3 presenters and last about 50 minutes. 
  • Posters: A graphic presentation of research by an art therapy student. Attendees are welcome to walk freely around the room and hear about as many research topics by students as they’d like. 
  • Panels: Conversational or discussion-based presentations that have between 3-5 presenters and last about 90 minutes. 
  • Master’s Level Supervision: Restricted to practicing clinicians only. These sessions are an opportunity to seek feedback from clinicians working in similar concentration areas. Non-confidential, redacted documents may be brought to these collaborative sessions, but not artwork or other confidential materials. 
  • Shared Interest Groups (SIGs): An opportunity to network with professionals with similar interests and concentration areas. Take a look at the SIGs meeting in person at AATA2023 and mark your calendar!  (Not eligible for continuing education)
  • Open Studio: An opportunity to create art and connect with other attendees! Each day will highlight a non-traditional media or material, and we will be hosting mini-sessions on art making. (Not eligible for continuing education)


What are the additional program offerings? 

  • Workshops: Workshops are 25-seat classes taught by an instructor aimed at teaching participants a new technique through experiential learning. Participants will learn the technique and then implement it with special materials not available in Open Studio.  
  • Advanced Practice Courses: These courses occur outside of the conference on either a half-day (3 hour) or full-day (6 hour) schedule.  
  • Marketplace: A place for our members to sell their art or other crafts and socialize with other members. The marketplace will take place Thursday, Oct. 26, from 5:00-7:00 PM. The cost to register is $30. Learn more or sign up here 
  • Opening & Closing Receptions: These receptions provide food, drink, and an opportunity to network with other professionals attending the conference. Join Girija Kaimal at the President’s Opening Reception on Wednesday evening, Oct. 25, 6 – 8pm and celebrate with colleagues and friends at the Closing Reception on Saturday, Oct. 28, 8 – 11pm! Each reception must be registered for separately.

Is the standard programming enough to fill an entire day or will I have to purchase add-ons to fill my time? 

Yes, the programming included in the standard program is enough to fill your entire day! At any time, there will be multiple events happening. Check out the schedule of events in the Program Guide. 


Will there be hands on art making? 

There will be opportunities to make art in Open Studio, workshops, and occasionally in Shared Interest Groups. While hand-on art making will not happen in Papers or Panels, you are welcome to make art at any time.  

When is the Newcomer’s Session? 

Newcomer’s Session will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 25, prior to the Opening Reception.  

How do I track the CEUs I earn while at the conference? 

Mark the events you attend in your Conference Program Guide. You should receive an email after Conference providing instructions on how to input your CEs. This process will require you to complete a small review of the material learned and then attest that you attended the event.


Why do I have to pay for workshops and register in advance? 

Workshops are limited to 25 professionals because they offer the opportunity to learn a new technique and create art. Your fee covers the cost of materials not traditionally available in Open Studio and hands-on learning with an instructor. 



Where should I stay? 

We recommend staying at the Town and Country Resort where the conference will be held for convenience as there are not many Airbnb’s nearby. The hotel was recently renovated and is offering a discounted rate if you book through our block. The price is currently about $195/night for one guest. 

AATA2023 attendees should reserve a room using this link to get the conference discount rate. 

You can find fun activities happening at the hotel here. And if you’re looking to bring your family, San Diego has lots to offer!

Will I be charged immediately when I book my room? 

No, you will be charged a one-night hold on your credit card to secure your reservation and then will be charged the remainder of the total cost of your stay. 

How do I get to the hotel? 

We do not offer a shuttle from the airport to the hotel. Therefore, we recommend utilizing public transportation, taxi, or ride sharing. You can learn more from the hotel, including parking fees.

To utilize San Diego’s public transport, take the San Diego Flyer to the Old Town Transit Center and then taking either taking the Green Line Trolley or Bus 88 to the Fashion Valley stop which is conveniently located directly behind the property.   

When I try to book my room, it asks for a time of arrival. Do I have to give an exact time?  

No, only the date of your arrival is needed. 

Does the hotel tend to fill up fast? 

Currently the hotel block is full. However you can still book a room at Town and Country for a discounted rate. With this location we found that many people took advantage of the early bird registration and therefore reserved their hotel room ahead of time.  

Will there be food options for special diets? 

Yes! There will be food available at the hotel during the conference with marked vegetarian and gluten-free options available. Should you require another type of dietary accommodation let us know via email at and we will do our best to provide additional options. Food is also available after the conference at the hotel restaurants.  


What is the dress code? 

Wear clothing that is professional but comfortable. Shorts or a skirt and a jacket are recommended as the weather itself will be warm, but the hotel can sometimes be cold, and temperatures tend to drop at night. 

Is conference family friendly? 

Yes, while family is not able to participate in the conference itself, October is Kids Free month in San Diego, this means many of the museums and other attractions in the San Diego area are offering free entry to children. 

Learn more about kid-friendly places to see in San Diego.

Who will be there? Will there be time for socializing and networking? 

Everyone from retired art therapists and well-known authors in the profession to those considering or enrolled in a graduate program will be at the conference. The Opening and Closing Receptions, Shared Interest Groups, Open Studio, and the Marketplace are great places to network and socialize during Conference.