October 8, 2020 

We want to update our members about AATA’s Strategic Priority of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) and share some upcoming next steps—and how to get more involved.


In June of 2018, the AATA Board of Directors updated our Strategic Plan to include Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion as a core priority area for the Association. To ensure the DEI initiative follows best practices and is sustainable as well as fully integrated into all areas of the Association, the board hired the consulting firm, IVY Planning Group, and established a DEI Taskforce within the board to guide this critical work.

In 2018 and 2019, the AATA’s DEI consultants facilitated important trainings and conversations with the AATA board and leadership, national staff, and conference attendees. The Association’s DEI Mission and Vision Statements were created by the DEI Taskforce and approved by the Board of Directors in 2019. In 2020, the board elevated the DEI Taskforce to a standing committee of the board.

DEI Mission Statement

The AATA critically examines our structures, values, and actions to ensure the continuous integration of diversity, equity, and inclusion within the organization and the art therapy community.

DEI Vision Statement

The AATA demonstrates equity and belonging in all aspects of the association and in the profession of art therapy.

The DEI Committee also completed assessments of a number of AATA policies, resulting in a new family-friendly policy for in-person conferences and updated language to be used in AATA demographic surveys. In addition, the Committee has contributed to AATA’s content and resources to ensure diversity, equity, and inclusion in our materials and information we offer our members and the public. The DEI Committee also set three action priorities to guide its work in 2020 and 2021.

DEI Committee Action Plan




Next Steps


Conduct research about diversity in art therapy. Consider:

·       What does the field look like now?

·       What does the organization look like?

·       What is the experience of diverse populations within membership and art therapy community?

AATA is currently asking members to complete demographic sections of their MyAATA profiles.

The DEI Committee has created a plan for 12 listening sessions with art therapy interest groups.

Listening sessions will begin in December 2020

A report of the findings will be released to the art therapy community (anticipated Spring 2021)

Results will guide the strategic planning of the Association, including long term and 3-year goals.

 Support Committees

Collaborate with the AATA committees and chapters to support their work plans through a DEI lens.The DEI Committee has participated in meetings with the Multicultural Committee, the Research Committee and recently collaborated with the Ethics Committee on the Best Practice Paper, Race and Racial Trauma.Continue to foster collaborations with chapters, each AATA committee, and to act as a resource to ensure DEI is always considered.

Chapters and committees are included as a stakeholder group in upcoming listening sessions.


Grow capacity and learning about DEI within the organization – including the National Office, Board, Committees, Chapter Leaders, and the Membership.

Learning includes training, providing resources, community dialogue, art making, etc.

AATA DEI Consultants IVY Planning Group have facilitated trainings with the Board, National Office, and the Assembly of Chapters.

IVY Planning Group also offered DEI sessions to conference attendees in 2018 and 2019.

IVY Planning Group participated in the Virtual Member Meeting in May 2020 and a subsequent webinar on the topic with AATA’s President.

The AATA Multicultural Committee launched the Digital Healing Quilt Project, a place for the art therapy community to create and exchange art to cope with these times.

IVY Planning Group will facilitate 12 listening sessions with art therapy interest groups.

AATA’s 2020 Virtual Conference includes a menu of DEI topics in the education sessions and networking groups. The conference will also include an inaugural virtual exhibit curated by the DEI Committee to pull forth and give space to underlying narratives that exist within art therapy and to highlight unique and expansive perspectives in the field.


DEI Listening Sessions

The DEI Committee is launching Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Listening Sessions! Similar to focus groups, the aim of these facilitated discussions is to hear from as many voices as possible. Findings will be released to AATA members and the art therapy community, and will inform the AATA’s strategic planning to move forward a more inclusive association and field.

We want to hear from you! You do not need to be a member to participate. Participants are invited to join one of 12 art therapy stakeholder group sessions. Each session will be capped at 20 participants to foster open dialogue among everyone in the group. We look forward to listening to the diverse experiences and views about DEI within the art therapy community. The first sessions will take place in December 2020. Look out for more information coming soon – including registration and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) next week!

Resources and Links

Ways to Get Involved

Together, we can create sustainable change and a culture shift towards a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive profession. There are so many ways to get involved – here are just a few!

  • Participate in a DEI listening session!
  • Add DEI learning sessions, networking groups, and collaborative art projects to your AATA 2020 Virtual Conference schedule!
  • Make art! Join the Multicultural Committee’s Digital Healing Quilt Project
  • Start a conversation – or join one in the MyAATA forum
  • Attend chapter meetings or virtual webinars
  • Join a committee
  • Participate in advocacy campaigns
  • Mentor an art therapist through MentorMatch
  • Spread awareness about art therapy—and VOTE!