PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS & SESSIONS

Learning Abounds! The conference offers more than 215 educational sessions that provide a rich learning environment for attendees to take away ideas, knowledge and inspiration to apply to their current positions, practices and professional development. The conference also provides continuing educationBoth didactic and experiential learning can be found in the programHere is a complete list of the different learning formats. So whether you learn directly from your peers while you network, attend a didactic session to hear the latest research and techniques in art therapy, or “learn by doing” with art supplies and directives, this conference provides something for everyone! You can download a convenient list of available experiential sessions here.

  • A new format we are featuring this year is Pop-Up Learning. This style of learning provides both pre-arranged topics, as well as the opportunity for attendees to post a “pop-up” session on the sign-up board to invite others to join. The sessions are more spontaneous, less structured, and more participatory. They also provide a fantastic opportunity for enhanced networking! This year we are adding a new type: “Creative Pop-Up Learning” that will be held in a designated area of the Open Art Studio and art supplies and directives will be the learning approach.
  • Get Creative! One of the unique features of our conference is art-making. Take time during the conference for creative inspiration. Visit the Open Art Studio, where you’ll find art supplies generously donated by Blick Art Materials and create some art!
  • Check out the activities and events we have planned for attendees and their families, and some child care resources in the DC Metro area.
“Einstein's Faithful Servant” by Leah Guzman

We are pleased to announce that Candy Chang will be our featured keynote speaker at the Thursday, October 29th Opening Plenary at 1:00 pm which includes a luncheon. If you purchase a Full Conference registration, then a ticket to this session is included. If you purchased an Economy, Daily or Two-Day registration package you can purchase a ticket separately.


Candy Chang is an artist who believes our shared spaces can play a vital role in reshaping how we see one another and ourselves. Her participatory public art invites people to share their inner lives through anonymous, handwritten responses that form an honest portrait of our emotional health as individuals and as a community. After the death of a loved one, she created the public art project Before I Die, which reimagines the ways the walls of our cities can help us grapple with mortality and meaning as a society today. The Atlantic called it “one of the most creative community projects ever,” and over 5,000 Before I Die walls have since been created by residents in more than 75 countries.


Her recent work includes a museum installation that collected and displayed over 50,000 anxieties and hopes from people in New York City, and a public ritual in Los Angeles for reflecting on resentment, judgment, and doubt. She is a TED Senior Fellow, Urban Innovation Fellow, and World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, and her work has been exhibited in museums including the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian, and Tate Modern.  She is an international speaker on community and emotional health, and her TED talk has been viewed over five million times.