September 10, 2020

On August 28, 2020, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced appointments to the Advisory Board on Art Therapy — the first step to implementing the art therapy license, which took effect on July 1st, 2020.

Appointments to the Advisory Board on Art Therapy: 

  • Brenda Bonuccelli of Richmond, Licensed Clinical Social Worker
  • Gretchen Graves of Henrico, Art Therapist, Richmond Hospital Education Program
  • Anne Mills of Alexandria, Art Therapist, Art Therapy Services
  • Leila Saadeh of Richmond, Art Therapist
  • Holly Zajur of Richmond, Founder and President, Connect Wellness

The AATA congratulates each appointee for this accomplishment and thanks them for their service to the art therapy profession. 

Next steps

The Art Therapy Advisory Board (Advisory Board) was established to assist the Board of Counseling in formulating regulations related to the practice of art therapy and to assist in other matters relating to the practice of art therapy as the Board may require.

Before art therapists in Virginia can begin applying for licensure, regulations to implement the license must go through the proposal, review, public comment, and final adoption process. The regulations must first be established by the Advisory Board, approved by the Board of Counseling, and ultimately approved and adopted by the Department of Health Professions.  

How we got here

The collective hard work, collaboration, and persistence of many dedicated art therapists and art therapy supporters over several years led to the victory this year in Virginia! Read about the full legislative process the license went through in 2020 in Gretchen Graves’ blog post, “What’s happening with Art Therapy in Virginia, currently.” (Please note, this post inviting applicants to the Advisory Board was written before the appointments were made by the Governor). For more information on the sunrise review process that preceded the legislation, see AATA’s blog post, “Virginia Board of Health Professions Votes to Recommend Licensure for Art Therapists to the Governor and Legislature”.