September 24, 2020 | Susan Boxer Kappel, MA, ATR-BC, LCAT, CGP, Conference Chair

The AATA 2020 virtual conference, Art Therapy Connected: Advancing Mental Health in a Virtual World  will provide a rich and diverse program that includes exceptional education, networking and special features that will offer attendees with opportunities to connect, explore and reinvigorate their professional careers.  Our presenters are in the process of having their sessions recorded, and we will be adding in educational program details to the agenda in early-October. In the meantime, please explore a sampling of the offerings we have planned outside the virtual classroom! We’ll have activities for personal growth and reflection, networking, community art projects, and celebrations!

The conference will be held over three days, on Saturday, October 24th, Sunday, November 1st and Saturday, November 7th, and will feature three optional events prior to the start of each day, including Yoga, Art-Making and a Mindfulness/Self-Care session to help get your day started for a full day of learning! We will end each conference day with 3 options for networking on a variety of topics. We also invite attendees to join us for three mid-week conference events that we hope will encourage a sense of conference community and continuity with more opportunities for connection.

We are including a few of the highlights for these special events below. Additional details will be added to the conference schedule as they are confirmed.

Highlights of Morning Optional Sessions

  • Art-Making: Showing Gratitude to Ourselves, Moderated by Sheila Lorenzo de la Peña, PhD, ATR-BC, ATCS. Use this time to reflect on showing gratitude to ourselves for doing the mundane things we do on a daily basis that contributes to our overall mental health and wellbeing. Take a few minutes to reflect on what those acts are, making a list, identifying 1 to 2 items from your list to illustrate. Suggested art materials: 2 sheets of paper (or a journal), a pen or pencil, watercolors or color pencils.
  • YOGA Instructed by Tammy (“Santoshi”) Robertson-Davis. Santoshi, Santoshi is an AATA member and has a Master’s degree in Psychotherapy & Spirituality (Art Therapy Specialization). She is a Certified Gold Instructor with the Canadian Yoga Alliance having trained under Yogi Vishvaketu near Rishikesh, India and others in Canada. She has been practicing yoga since 2000 and has been a certified instructor since 2007. Namaste!
  • Cultural Humility, Presented by Louvenia Jackson, PhD, ATR-BC, MFT. In this morning session, Dr. Jackson, author of Cultural Humility in Art Therapy will lead attendees through a directive on cultural humility that includes self-refection. The session will introduce concepts of self-awareness about how we present ourselves, awareness of other’s perspectives and an openness to exchange.
  • Creative Self-Care: Advancing your Mental Health to Support Personal and Professional Moderated by Barbara Parker-Bell, PsyD, ATR-BC and Patricia Isis, PhD, LMHC-QS, ATR-BC, ATCS. Therapists face challenges in balancing and sustaining care for others and themselves. When therapist care is neglected, reduced therapeutic effectiveness and therapist quality of life may result. In this optional session, participants will be provided means for exploring and supporting dimensions of self-care via achievable creative strategies and mindfulness-based practices.

Highlights of End of Day Networking Sessions

  • Art Therapists of Color, Moderated by DeLora Putnam-Bryant, MA-AT and Charlotte Boston, MA, ATR-BC, LCPAT. Art therapists of color are invited to share their clinical, personal and career experiences. This is an opportunity to connect and support other art therapists of color.
  • Practice for Art Therapists Who Identify as Black, Indigenous, and People of Color, Moderated by Miki Goerdt, MSW, LCSW, ATR-BC. Intracultural practice is defined as working with clients from the same ethnic/racial group of the therapist. Intracultural practice for BIPOC art therapists consist of different challenges from Caucasian-to-Caucasian encounters. In this discussion we will explore the shared experiences of BIPOC art therapists in order to strive for culturally sensitive practice.
  • STUDENTS: Getting Involved as Students – Learning How to Advocate for Art Therapy and for Yourself, Moderated by Claire Kalala, Clara Keane, and McKeon Dempsey. During this fun and informative networking session for students we will discuss ways you can be your own best advocate for your career, and the art therapy profession!
  • STUDENTS: From an Online Art Therapy Grad Student, Here are 5 Tips for Making the Transition to Virtual, Moderated by Trica Zeyher and Carolyn Treadon, PhD, ATR-BC. Many art therapy graduate students are transitioning to telehealth from face-to face services during coronavirus in our practicum and internship sites. Some of us have also transitioned to fully online education. Join this networking session to learn tips about how to navigate these situations, share ideas and inspire each other.

Mid-Week Conference Sessions (Not eligible for continuing education)

  • Wednesday, October 28th from 7:30 to 9:00 pm EDT, International Shared Interest Group. This session is for conference attendees who live and work in other countries to network and unwind with art-making. In this session, we will explore our intentions for future global work in art therapy while expressing the impact of the pandemic on our current work, travel, or global collaborations. We will bookmark this chapter as the first virtual international meeting as we continue exploring ways to stay connected. Contact for more information.
  • Wednesday, November 4th from 7:30 to 9:00 pm EST, Annual Awards, Honors & Scholarships Presentation – An Evening with the Stars. Plan to attend this fun evening where we will present our scholarship, awards and honors recipients with their awards. The evening will culminate with the presentation the Honorary Life Member, and their acceptance speech.
  • Thursday, November 12th from 8:00 to 9:00 pm EST, Memorial Service. All conference attendees and AATA members are invited to attend this annual event that honors the lives and work of art therapists who have passed since our last conference. Please contact Shazza Berhan ( to provide information for inclusion in the program.

Share Your Artwork!

  • We invite all conference attendees to submit a digital art image for the Conference Art Exhibit we will show each morning before the plenary sessions. Art images are due by October 16th. Read more about the submission process.
  • Healing Quilt: Each year at the conference AATA’s Multicultural Committee and other conference participants create a beautiful quilt in the Open Art Studio, and then provides raffle tickets for attendees to win the quilt from the previous year. Funds raised are used to support the Pearlie Roberson Scholarship Fund. Because the conference is virtual this year, the Multicultural Committee has created a digital art project, the “Healing Quilt,” and we invite everyone to contribute a digital copy of an artwork. Fill out this form to submit your entry! Submissions for the Healing Quilt will be collected using a service called EntryThingy. All submissions must be digital JPG format. Please read more about this important activity here and get involved today!

We hope you are as excited as we are about how the virtual conference is shaping up and hope that you will join us! Register today! There are three conference registration packages available. Each offers access to an on-demand library of sessions for the day(s) you register.

  • 1-DAY PACKAGE (Select 1 Day) 19 Hours of learning & continuing education with on-demand access.
  • 2-DAY PACKAGE (Select 2 Days) 38 Hours of learning & continuing education with on-demand access.
  • 3-Day Package 57 Hours of learning & continuing education with on-demand access.