August 31, 2023

Our volunteer Board Members not only play a pivotal role in planning the annual conference, but they love attending! So we asked them what makes AATA conferences so special. We’re sharing some of their answers. Hope to see you in San Diego to make some new memories!

“My favorite part of conference is the sense of being connected and energized by our community… to get to learn, play, catch up and host friends and colleagues from across the country and beyond. I feel rejuvenated, my cup of ‘why-I-do-what-I-do’ inspiration for the year gets filled as I listen, learn, and get to be with my own people.”  

— Girija Kaimal, EdD, ATR-BC
AATA President

“The thing I have enjoyed over the years about conference is finding others who help me feel seen in the way I practice art therapy. Suddenly I don’t feel alone, I feel incredibly inspired and am able to gather the courage to continue pursuing my dreams!”

— Nadia Paredes, LMFT, ATR
AATA President-Elect

Collaborating in one space with many creatives who share the professional identity of art therapists is so inspiring. I often make sure to engage in enriching conversations with others in the networking spaces, affinity groups, and the open studio space. It’s always great to feel the energy coming together in community at the annual AATA conference!

— Michael Galarraga, LPC, ATR-BC, CSAC, CSOTP


I like to attend the conference to reinvigorate my passion for using art to help others improve their lives. I always leave bursting with new ideas. I also love catching up with friends and colleagues I have not seen all year.  

— Rachel Mims, MS, ATR-BC, LPC-AT

“What I like about the conference is that I get to meet my fellow travelers who utilize art as a means to pave their path towards healing. Coming together to share our triumphs and challenges, exchange invaluable insights, receive with open hearts, witness each other’s remarkable growth, and foster a nurturing environment for further development, all while relishing the joy and camaraderie of the experience!”

— Maria Kim, PhD, LMFT, ATR-BC


“Over the years I have created very special ‘conference friends’ that I look forward to seeing each year. We may not stay in touch during the year but at each conference I know I will get to enjoy reconnecting with them over dinners, or sharing insights after attending presentations. It’s a special part of in person events that I cherish even more now.”

— Raquel Farrell-Kirk, ATR-BC


“My first AATA Conference was in San Diego in 1995 so I am excited to return. I remember being astounded by how many art therapists existed! After all this time, the collective of art therapists meeting from around the world at the conference continues to fuel my passion for this amazing profession. Art therapists are the best people on the planet.”

— Marygrace Berberian, PhD, LCAT, ATR-BC, LCSW

“We are in the mist of our program residency and I have been talking with a couple of faculty about connections that we made at AATA that turned into awesome partnerships – on books, articles, projects, etc. I think those are great stories to share.”

— Jennifer DeLucia, DAT, ATR-BC, LCAT