April 2, 2024 | By Kachina Mooney, Liz Micciulla, and Mindy Jacobson-Levy

On March 20, 2024, members of the Pennsylvania Art Therapy Association (PAATA) met at the State Capitol in Harrisburg for a Hill Day. Several PAATA members convened to advocate and speak with the public about the need for an independent Art Therapy License in Pennsylvania (LPAT).

Those in attendance included Mindy Jacobson-Levy, MCAT, ATR-BC, LPC, LPAT (President), Laura Bauder, MA, ATR-BC, LPC, CAADC, CCTP, EMDR-PT (President-Elect), Kachina Mooney, MA, LPC, ATR-BC (Governmental Affairs Chair), Liz Micciulla, MA, ATR-BC, NCC, CAADC (GAC Alternate), Chris Zweifel, MA, ATR-P (Events Co-Chair), and Piña Huitzil (Student Board Representative from Seton Hill University). 

Art therapy advocates in Harrisburg for Hill Day March 20, 2024 

In addition, Dana Elmendorf, MA, ATR-BC, LPC (Program Director, Seton Hill University Graduate Art Therapy) and another of her students, Gabrielle Schrack, joined our efforts to meet with legislators.

Gretchen Tucker, ATR-BC, LPC (Licensure Committee), and Irene Silva (Graduate Art Therapy Student from Cedar Crest College, former PAATA student representative) staffed the PAATA table and were spectacular in answering questions from Hill Day visitors who were curious about our profession. The East Wing Rotunda was quite active that day, and indeed, Art Therapist Barbie supported our efforts!

With the help of Kachina, Liz, and Dana, who initiated the meetings, we were able to meet with lawmakers throughout the morning, including Rep. Kristin Marcell; Rep. Brandon Markosek, Vice Chair of Professional Licensure Committee; Senator Robinson; and Rep. Gaydos.

We also met with Jennifer Smeltz, Executive Director of the Senate Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure Committee, She shared the history of licensure efforts and recognized the need for an independent Art Therapy license. She stressed the need for strong support from the Governor for our bills to be passed through committee.

We are excited that PAATA has secured Governor Shapiro’s support for art therapy licensure!

Hill Day was a Success!

By the end of the day, Rep. Venkat and Senator Costa had agreed to co-sponsor House Bill 1398 and Senate Bill 786. Information about our proposed LPAT was also delivered to Senator Maria Collett, as well as others at the Capitol.

The PAATA Board of Directors, in conjunction with our Licensure Committee, plans to attend the next Hill Day in June, in hopes of gathering more support for our LPAT. Our next meeting is with Kari Orchard, Executive Director, House Professional Licensure Committee, Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Please reach out to PAATA at paataorggac@gmail.com if you want to get involved!