August 21, 2019  | Susan Boxer Kappel, MA, ATR-BC, LCAT, CGP, Conference Chair


The AATA Conference Committee has been working with the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force of the AATA Board of Directors to ensure that at this year’s 50th Annual Conference we provide ample learning opportunities for attendees to expand their knowledge in this important area for our profession.

We are pleased to announce that Gary A. Smith, Co-Founder and Senior Partner, and Alan A. Klein, Senior Consultant with The Ivy Group will attend and provide a number of learning and discussion options for attendees including:

  • Assembly of Chapters meeting on Wednesday, October 30.  The Ivy Group will present, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion: How the Little Things Make a Big Difference. This session is designed for AATA Chapter delegates. The world we inhabit is growing increasingly diverse, in both our professional and personal lives. In recognition of this reality, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) are important drivers of AATA’s strategy for the profession and the association. In this session, Gary Smith and Alan Klein will help AATA Chapter Delegates to understand the key principles of DEI and how they can attend to grow and leverage DEI as we work to create the AATA of the future.  Please note that one delegate per chapter is invited to attend the Assembly of Chapters meeting and luncheon at no charge. Please complete this form for your designated chapter delegate. Other chapter representatives are welcome to attend, but they must purchase a luncheon ticket. The ticket includes lunch, the AoC Meeting, and one continuing education credit for this year’s educational session focused on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. To register for the session download the form and submit it as instructed by October 4.
  • Focus Group on Thursday, October 31 at 1:30 pm. Gary and Alan will present, What Makes Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Hard?  In this highly interactive session, which will begin with an overview of DEI using a Dimensions model, we will take a serious look at what makes DEI hard in today’s workplace and client space.
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI), Pop-Up Learning, Thursday, October 31. Gary and Alan will also be available during the 12:00 pm Thursday Pop-Up Learning segment.  Here attendees will have an opportunity to meet with the presenters in a small, roundtable discussion group for informal networking and dialogue exchange.

The Conference Committee is also working with the AATA’s Multicultural Committee to offer several additional learning and networking opportunities, including:

  • Thursday, October 31 the Opening Plenary. Our conference will open with a powerful plenary on Thursday morning titled Breaking the Chains of Racial Trauma in Therapy, presented by Dr. Angela Roman Clack; and members of the AATA’s Multicultural Committee, Cheryl Doby-Copeland, PhD, ATR-BC, LPC, LMFT, HLM; Jordan Potash, PhD, ATR-BC, LCPAT; Gwendolyn Short, MA, ATR-BC, LCPAT; and Lindsey Vance, MA, ATR-BC.  This session will describe how racial hostility, discrimination, and harassment are barriers to trust and effective therapeutic relationships.  The audience will discover how to address racial trauma and race-based stress in therapy, particularly with Black clients.  The presenters will also explore how to acknowledge, assess, and reflect on the effects of racism which requires intentional skills, especially in cross-racial therapeutic encounters.  This session will offer one and a half hours of continuing education.


  • The Annual Multicultural Exchange Forum on Friday, November 1, starting at 3:45 pm.  This year the Exchange Forum will feature Michael Vance Toombs, an accomplished painter and art activist, founder and CEO of Storytellers Inc., Artist Collective. Mr. Toombs is a community leader and champion for young people and the adult working artists in the Greater Kansas City area. During the Exchange, Toombs will explore the connection of creative place-making and participatory art making as the catalyst for bringing together communities to preserve legacy and bring about healing. Murals are considered connectors of communities that have been used throughout history. Toombs brought together over 2,000 participants from the Topeka area to create a mural which explores the themes of equality and justice, commemorating the 1954 landmark Brown v. Topeka Board of Education (BOE) ruling that struck down racial segregation in public schools. In celebration of the 50th anniversary of the AATA, and the 65th anniversary of Brown v. Topeka Board of Education, participants will have the opportunity to pay homage to the creative place-makers that have paved the way for the important work of legacy and healing during this session.
  • The Piece by Piece Quilt Workshop will be held in the Open Art Studio on Thursday, October 31st at 4:00 pm.

The conference committee has ensured that several traditional opportunities for members to provide feedback and suggestions is included in the program such as the Annual Meeting of the Membership on Friday, November 1 at 12:15 pm, and the Annual Town Hall meeting with Board Members on Saturday, November 2 at 12:00 pm.

The conference committee is also working on a self-expression activity for attendees to share ideas, suggestions and thoughts.  Additionally, the Conference Committee is working with the Local Arrangements Committee to offer some community service opportunities that will benefit several community groups who serve women, members of the LGBTQIA, and migrant/refugee communities. We will continue to highlight these additional program opportunities as the details are confirmed.

If you have not already registered for the American Art Therapy Association’s 50th Annual Conference to be held October 30 to November 3, 2019 in Kansas City, MO we invite you to do so while there are still some great registration rates.  You can Register Online or call the National Office at (888) 290-0878 or (703) 548-5860 to register by phone.


  • Add some experiential sessions to your conference schedule. All-day advanced practice courses (held on Wednesday, October 30, from 9:00 am to 5:00 p.m.) offer attendees 7 full hours of learning and continuing education and include art directives. Or if you are staying over on Saturday evening why not add a half day Advanced Practice Course on Sunday, November 3 (from 8:00 to 11:00 a.m.) for 3 hours of extra learning and continuing education. Review the available sessions, and register soon before these sessions fill up! Some workshops are also available on Thursday, Friday and Saturday…but hurry before they are full!
  • Make your hotel arrangements as the reserved block is filling up!

For more information about the conference, visit the website, download the detailed conference brochure, or review the online “searchable” program.

AATA Members receive a discount on conference registration, so if your membership is not current or would like to become a member visit: or call (888) 290-0878 or (703) 548-5860.