October 3, 2019


The AATA congratulates Emporia State University’s Art Therapy Program for receiving a $10,000 High Impact Learning Grant to fund 31 students’ attendance to AATA’s 50th Annual Conference in Kansas City, MO, supporting their educational and professional growth!  Dr. Gaelynn Wolf Bordonaro, Professor and Director of Emporia State’s Art Therapy Program, secured the university grant and conceived of this innovative mentorship program to increase cross-disciplinary experiences for undergraduate pre-art therapy majors and support art therapy graduate students’ professional development.

ESU undergraduate and graduate art therapy students will pair up for a year-long mentorship experience. The grant covers funding towards both AATA membership and conference registration. Pairs will participate in the annual service project during the conference, create response art after conference, and present on their experience in a public forum following the program.

“I am particularly excited to see how the participants will decide to share the experience in a public venue,” says Dr. Wolf Bordonaro. “This component of the criteria for engagement will surely present an opportunity to invite legislative stakeholders to learn about the impact of art therapy licensure on the career trajectory of Kansas students; this is particularly important since, during the Spring 2020 legislative session, they will be asked to vote on a licensure bill for art therapists in Kansas.”

ESU pre-art therapy students complete all of the prerequisites needed for application to art therapy programs throughout the nation, and the university hopes that this unique mentorship program and high impact learning experience will encourage more students to continue their studies at ESU and build fulfilling careers in Kansas. The faculty of the ESU Art Therapy Program are delighted in the university’s commitment to and investment in art therapy scholars. The grant also highlights ongoing collaborations between the Graduate Art Therapy Program and the Department of Art, which offers the pre-art therapy curriculum.

Participating students are excited about the opportunity to participate in the 50th annual American Art Therapy Association conference, and they will surely be inspired! Kansas has a rich history in the field of art therapy, and ESU joins in welcoming art therapists from across the nation and the globe to Kansas City.