NewsBlog-Spring, 2021

Welcome to the new NorCATA Newsblog, a digital departure from the previous PDF versions of the newsletter, which were beautifully designed by Manisha Chowda. Thank you, Manisha for all of your work over the past years. A thank you to Sonja Murphy as well for her ongoing copyediting skills. We will include seasonal workshop and regional event reviews, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion information, art submissions, recent publications and articles from students. We began the year with our Annual Business Meeting.

Contents: Use the cursor/hand to click on the section to jump to it

Annual Business Meeting
President’s Message
NorCATA Workshops
1. Winter workshop
Regional Rep Series
1. February
2. March
Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Committee
1. A Quest for Being Better
2. Let’s Grow
Recent Publications
Students Corner
1. My Practicum Experience    
Reflections on NDNU Workshops
Creative Submissions
1. Where I’m From
1. Calling All Heart Makers

January, 2021 NorCATA Annual Business Meeting

The NorCATA Annual Business Meeting took place over Zoom on January 21, 2021. Outgoing President Katrina Bobo gave her remarks as 2021 President Fiona Ruddy took the helm.

Katrina reflected upon challenges in 2020 which included COVID-19 and board vacancies, and achievements such as producing a digital conference, continuing to present programs via Zoom, obtaining the results of the Regional Representatives member survey, and the formation of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee. The 2020 board members were thanked for their service and the 2021 board was announced. Public Relations will continue to promote events on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. A new NorCATA LinkedIn page has been created in order to share art therapy events and articles, and to promote the profession to the community at large. The Board is also pleased to announce that the NorCATA newsletter is being converted to an online blog, and we would like to thank Manisha Chowda for the beautiful design work she did on our newsletter.

NorCATA’s financial balance increased from 2019 and 2020 due to decreased expenses from the digital conference and the deposit refund from Sonoma State, leaving us with a balance of $14,646. Goals for 2021 include providing scholarship funds and funding art therapy programs for homeless populations. Membership in January was at 245 members and we hope to continue to expand contacts to potential members. Programs ran a successful first virtual conference with 158 attendees, 29 presenters and 21 presentations. The website content survey revealed a desire for information about using art experientials over Zoom and specific art techniques and materials in addition to other issues. The NorCATA website will continue to be used as a tool for members to refer back to for resources and a new art therapist profile will appear quarterly on the website. Student Liaisons reported on their challenges and goals for further collaboration and fundraising for scholarships and presentations. NorCATA is pleased to have connected with SoCal ATA to share information and collaborate, especially with the upcoming AATA Conference that will be held in San Diego in October of this year.

Results from the Regional Representative member survey were presented during the Annual Business Meeting, with self-care and sharing art experientials as the top interests, followed by art viewing and art exchanges. Based upon survey results, a Regional Representative Series has been formed. Each month this series will feature a regional representative who will host an event focused on issues that are important to our members. 

Lastly, NorCATA member Devora Weinapple, who has held several Board positions over these past seven years, including Past President, was honored and presented with the Honorary Lifetime Member award. Devora will continue to consult on the website. Thank you again Devora for all of your efforts!

The following board positions are open: President Elect, Director of Legislative Affairs and Director of Fundraising. Contact us with any questions at and visit for ongoing events and information.

President’s Message, 2021
By Fiona Ruddy

I am excited and honored to be President of the NorCATA as it continues to grow and evolve as a vibrant organization committed to a sustainable future for the profession of art therapy.  We want the NorCATA’s Board to reflect a profession that supports community, is culturally competent and supports its values in long-term sustainability through a lens of diversity, equity and inclusion. We are a financially healthy organization that is well-positioned to deliberately and carefully make sure that the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion initiative is woven into the fabric of the association, including our programs and workshops, scholarships and community outreach.  We couldn’t do what we do without your help. I’d like to personally invite all members to get involved with the NorCATA, whether it’s joining a committee, attending a Regional Rep Series Event or our quarterly programs, or offering to write an article for our newsblog Make an impact, we’d love to hear from you!

NorCATA Workshops

NorCATA Winter. 2021 Workshop: Art Therapy in Saudi Arabia
Presented by Fahad Alfahed, PhD, ATR-BC
By Teddy Ramsden, ATR-BC

I attended the workshop Art Therapy in Saudi Arabia: Art Therapy Assessment of Cultural Perspectives presented by Fahad Alfahed, PhD, ATR-BC. It increased my awareness and respect for what Fahad referred to as “the personality” of the people, culture, and society of Saudi Arabia. Fahad’s presentation was comprehensive regarding his assessment procedures, art materials, and demographic information about clients in Saudi Arabia. Art therapy in Saudi Arabia is being incorporated in therapeutic work with mental and physical health and forensic populations, including people who have been incarcerated for crimes related to terrorist actions.

I appreciated Fahad’s explanation that terrorism is not in the personality of the country of Saudi Arabia—in the agencies nor in the people. Terrorism develops because of misuse and misunderstanding of the Islamic religion, and the personality of terrorism is a social problem, and/or due to family conflict and violence. Fahad’s approach is psychoanalytical, using psychoanalytical theories and other professional mental health orientations in conjunction with psychologists, social workers, etc. Professional teamwork in the prisons is aimed toward rehabilitation of people who have committed terrorist crimes.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Teddy-Fahads-wkshp-art.jpg

Fahad advocates the advancement of educational programs in Saudi Arabia, stating such programs are important “to teach art therapy and provide competent…training, ATCB requirements, adopting…these guidelines to create educational programs sensitive to the culture.” According to Fahad:

“People need a definition of art therapy, that it is used for education, clarity, being healthy, to provide a whole definition. … We must use words from our own culture, that art therapy is not just for sick people but for all people, for stress, getting knowledge for all people, not just…struggling people. We need to talk with psychologists and social workers to define what is art therapy and the benefits, not replacing them but contributing collaborative work together, therapeutic co-work, providing good service.”

Fahad’s presentation ended with an experiential to choose from three assessment procedures:

1) Draw a person picking a date from a palm tree (above)
2) Draw where we are on our life road and where we are going
3) Draw a free art reflection

Fahad stated “Using the phrase in any way you want with the directive to draw a person has been useful, especially with clients who feel forced or shamed making expressive art.” Fahad was kind and appreciative of our self-disclosures. There was a friendly exchange of sincere support toward Fahad, and toward the stories of attendees.

I am a second-generation art therapist. In my graduate program, emphasis was given to a definition of the art therapist’s role as a “pioneer,” to our responsibility to impart knowledge about art therapy to the public and to the task of working in conjunction with other professionals as part of treatment teams. Fahad is fulfilling these tasks, and I respect and support his goals, which are about what art therapy has always been.

Color pencils

NorCATA Winter. 2021 Workshop: Art Therapy in Saudi Arabia By Jane Vogel-Riley, LPCC, ATR-BC

One of twelve quick sketches in response to Fahad Alfahed’s NorCATA Winter Workshop, making for a safe place to reflect on his counseling work with ‘beneficiaries’, his use of some of the Formal Elements of Art Therapy Scale (FEATS), e.g.: line, shape and color, and personality elements of drawing such as openness to the experience, extroversion and agreeableness. Of the three Art Directives, I chose the ‘Free art reflection’. In this abstract image, green develops a healing atmosphere, like the personality traits of openness and agreeableness, and yellow, red, gold, purple and blue create special relationships, likened to the unique learning opportunity of the Beneficiaries and Staff who work together at the Counseling and Care Center in Saudi Arabia. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is orange-stripe-1024x43.jpg

Regional Rep Series

Self Care and Compassion Workshop
By Teddy Ramsden, ATR-BC

On February 14, Valentine’s Day, I attended the NorCATA virtual art event about self-care and self-compassion facilitated by Fiona Ruddy. Prior to this event, a spiritual source advised me to use my strong powers of visualization to visualize living an abundant, healthy, happy life as I continue to recover from an illness. For this reason, I felt that the art event was up my alley and a blessing the universe offered me through our wonderful organization NorCATA. 

The recent thematic emphasis in NorCATA workshops has raised my consciousness and increased my knowledge and wisdom regarding social justice, white supremacy and cultural humility in order to more fully benefit the people with whom I have worked and will work, including co-workers and clients. This thematic emphasis also has felt to me at times to be uncomfortable in the virtual meetings. Difficult conversations, though necessary, do feel tense in general to me. But we are art therapists, and in our work we face and see many hard things, difficulties and human suffering, and we bring hope, insights, creativity and healing. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_20210214_144917458-scaled.jpg

As art therapists, we have been trained in our ability to create emotional safety creatively in the groups we facilitate, to build trust, and to shape values such as mutual respect among the people we serve. I felt this same sense of safety in the Valentine’s Day virtual art event. I felt relaxed and at ease. The event gave me a good shot of emotional safety in the presence of my professional peers. Their love of art was so pure. The event put my head in the right place in terms of the basic trust I hold inside myself for my art therapy community of diverse cultures, a community which I cherish and celebrate. Fiona also gave a good shot of love to us, offering a profound breathing meditation that touched my heart and brought out some good healing tears with its guiding words to send love to ourselves, to the parts of our bodies that need love, and guiding words to each of us to remember that “I AM love.” 

I lovingly sketched some attending members who were present that day. I observed the firm, confident, determined muscles of their faces as they created their art. Fully absorbed, these artists were in the flow of their labor of love. To hear them speak with such energy, spirit and strong life force about their art making brought joy to me. The event left good vibes in my home too that day. Thanks, Fiona. Thanks all.

Mindful Eating Workshop
By Kayla Ormandy

Steven Schreibman led NorCATA’s Regional Representative Members through a mindful eating practice on March 14th. Steven is a psychodynamically trained clinical social worker and art therapist, who represents the Marin region of San Fransisco with NorCATA. Steven ’s workshop created time for us participants to share food in community, which in this time of a global pandemic, was very missed and wonderfully special.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Kayla-Marin.jpg

We complimented our mindful eating practice with art making. We described our experiences in colors, shapes and words of what it was like to eat our food. These diverse images will be reminders to us of our deep experiences during the practice. It was a true delight to soak in the smells, textures, colors, and tastes of our food in new ways, with conscious attention. My own experience with mindfully eating a mandarin orange, brought out a sense of curiosity, excitement, and was grounding and uplifting. As I gently soaked in the juicy flavors of the orange, I was filled with words like “brilliant, bright, and energizing.” In analyzing each piece, I found them to be juicy, bumpy, plump, and tart.

While sharing our artwork, Steven facilitated conversations of satiation, appreciation, and presence, which I found myself chewing on long after the workshop had ended. Most profound for me during our time together, was how wonderfully Steven gently weaved in reminders that coming to the present moment is self-nourishing. I left the workshop with a new way to think about what nourishes me, how I eat, and how sacred food can be.

Wise Words Spoken by Participants in the NorCATA Regional Rep Series: Mindful Eating Workshop,
By Teddy Ramsden, ATR-BC

I attended the virtual Mindful Eating Workshop facilitated by Steve Schreibman on March 14, and was impressed by the words of people present there. The following words have been paraphrased and/or quoted here to share about self-care:

“I take a walk. I look at the sky.”
“I don’t want to count the number of nuts I eat.”
“Food is life…love…eat slowly.”
“I am mindful of the dignity of life and to respect myself.”
“We give attention to our clients. Eating mindfully is giving attention to yourself.”
“I want to live my lifespan, prolong my life, be well, feel well and help others be and feel well.”

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Gladness.jpg
Felt-tip markers

“When I started drawing…there came an unexpected moment of felt hunger, giving time for the image-making process to become a way of giving thanks. In the deep gold colors of the heart shape I see GLADNESS in the life power of food, nourishing and comforting, announcing celebration, energy, and a feast of flavors. To my surprise, the giving of time to image making while eating was an activity of inviting and welcoming of the food that was gracing the table. Now, the practice of setting the table before dinner is shifting to the sacred, becoming the setting of a place to receive the bounty.” –Jane Vogel-Riley

“What a rich experience!”
“Thank you for sharing your wisdom.”
“Well said!”
“Steve was brave to do this workshop.”

Steve has worked as a clinical social worker and art therapist for the San Francisco Department of Mental Health. His presentation was sincere, energetic and compassionate. It was a great workshop. I applaud all. Thank you NorCATA for presenting this valuable art event.

From the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee

Diversity, Equity and IncIusion, 2021:
A Quest for Being Better
By Kayla Ormandy

President Fiona Ruddy’s vision to create a more inclusive NorCATA has taken root early this year with the creation of a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. My participation in this committee has allowed me to be a witness to the deep compassion and inner fire within Northern California art therapists. The group has created a safe space for discussion, reflection, and community-based. While we piece apart the concepts of white supremacy, we reflect on who we’ve been as an art therapy community, and how we can do better.
            As a committee, we are still in the murky waters of identifying what awareness is and what inclusion is, and this is right where we need to be. Admitting what we don’t know is integral to dismantling the inner constructs our cultures have engrained in us that support white supremacy. Only through self-reflection, community conversations, and increasing our knowledge will we begin to create new ways of being, new ways of thinking, and new ways of lifting up voices that have been intentionally hidden for far too long.
            We only know we are being guided by the collective goals of decreasing suffering, of taking responsibility for our own actions, and of becoming an organization that uplifts the experiences of valuable art therapists, wondrous wisdom keepers, and their diverse voices. We would love to have you join us on this journey. As we stumble and grow in supporting one another in our various spiritualities, cultures, gender expressions, ancestral lineages, and sexual orientations, we would love to have you join us for this journey. I can’t wait to see how we’ll grow together.

Let’s Grow
By Kamaria Wells, NDNU Student Liaison

Watching Let’s Grow with the NorCATA and SoCATA communities on February 28th was the perfect segue to a long overdue series of cross-race dialog on the societal complications that are race relations. For too long, many of us have ignored and sidestepped uncomfortable conversations around race-related matters because doing so has been part of the U.S. American dominant culture. Fortunately, change is on the rise, as recent events at the U.S. Capitol have highlighted the blatant discrepancies regarding perceptions and treatment of people of Color versus White people. As therapists, it is imperative for us to engage in this healing dialog for a multitude of reasons: We need to heal ourselves, process our intergenerational and current trauma, and we need to be able to help others heal from their historical and present-day trauma. Racism impacts us all differently, but there is one definitive commonality for everyone—the consequences of racism prevent us all from being our best and highest selves. I implore everyone to step into the courageous space of vulnerability in order to commence collective healing and growth.  Let’s Grow is a groundbreaking film by Daniel J. Pico aimed at healing racial division. To learn more, visit

Recent Publications by Members

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Art Therapy
By Amy Backos, PhD, ATR-BC

Dr. Amy Backos

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Art Therapy focusses on art therapy as a treatment of PTSD in both theory and practice. It includes an in-depth look at what PTSD is, how it develops, the impact of avoidance in maintaining symptoms, and how art therapists can approach and treat it. Furthermore, a systemic analysis is offered to understand how we can transform institutions to support our clients through cultural humility and advocacy for social justice.

PTSD treatment is explored in a wide variety of contexts, including adults at a rape crisis center, veterans, children in group homes, and patients at substance abuse facilities. The book includes invaluable practical strategies and interventions based on the author’s decades of experience in the field, including consideration of how Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) can guide art therapy interventions. Excerpts from contributing art therapists and clients offer a variety of perspectives on recovery from trauma.

Dr. Amy Backos, PhD, ATR-BC is a licensed psychologist and registered and board certified art therapist based in San Francisco, CA. She is the Chair of the Graduate Art Therapy Psychology Program NDNU/Dominican University of California and works in private practice. She is co-editor of the book Emerging Perspectives in Art Therapy and her next her next book is Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Art Therapy. Her 24+ years of experience includes work with adults, young people, and children who have experienced, intimate partner violence, combat trauma, sexual assault, and substance abuse disorders.
Backos, A. (2021). Post-traumatic stress disorder and art therapy. Jessica Kingsley.
ISBN 978 1 78775 204 7

Self-Expression Through Art and Drumming: A Facilitator’s Guide to Using Art Therapy to Enhance Drum Circles
By Jen Mank, PhD, ATR-BC, LMFT

This book discusses art therapy, music therapy, object relations and the history of the drum and drumming. Drumming holds the potential to be restorative within a therapeutic milieu. Details are provided on drum making and drum circle facilitation, how to create a therapeutic milieu, and how art therapy may enhance the drum circle experience.

Getting On in the Creative Arts Therapies: A Hands-On Guide to Personal
and Professional Development 
By Erin Partridge, PhD, ATR-BC

“I am so excited to announce the publication of my newest book with Jessica Kingsley publishers. We are in the midst of such a difficult time all over the world; having to rethink our personal professional and academic lives along with the worlds of our communities and cultures. I hope that this book will inspire us all to think about professional development in new ways!”
– Erin Partridge, PHD, ATR-BC


Creativity as a Lifeline: Connection through Witnessing 
ATOL: Art Therapy Online Vol 12 No 1 (2021)
Authors: Serena Martinez-Coleman M.A., LMFT, ATR-BC, PhD Candidate
Jen Mank Ph.D., LMFT, ATR-BC
Toni Morley M.A., LMFT, ATR-BC

This article discusses how the Weekly Art Accountability project between three art therapists provided a platform to express emotions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, systemic racism in the United States, and a divisive political election. The weekly art making acted as a mechanism for self-discovery and as a means to recognize commonality during a time of isolation. The witnessing of the creativity and emotions evoked in the art images became the means by which support and connection was found during uncertain times.

The Psychologist-Manager Journal
Taking a Pulse of the American Art Therapy Association’s
Values: A Study of a Nonprofit Organization in Conflict

Jayashree George, George B. Yancey, Deborah A. Sharpe, and Anna K. Moore
Online First Publication, September 17, 2020.

George, J., Yancey, G. B., Sharpe, D. A., & Moore, A. K. (2020, September 17). Taking a Pulse of the American Art Therapy Association’s Values: A Study of a Nonprofit Organization in Conflict.
The Psychologist-Manager Journal. Advance online publication.

This is a study of a nonprofit organization, the American Art Therapy Association (AATA), experiencing a values conflict. In January 2017, the AATA board embraced the art therapy initiative of Karen Pence, the Second Lady of the United States. Subsequently, many members of the organization complained and even protested at the AATA’s (2017) national conference. Using a descriptive correlational design, we conducted a values audit of 255 art therapists from across the United States to explore how they prioritized the organization’s values and how their value choices were related to their support of or opposition to partnering with Karen Pence. Although 92% felt art therapy is in need of visibility, 75% rated the initiative as negative. Although respondents who self-identified as liberal were less likely to approve of the initiative, prioritizing the value of social justice and inclusion (SJI) was an equally important predictor of opposition. On the other hand, respondents who prioritized parity and development were more supportive of Pence’s initiative. Age was related to how respondents valued SJI, as was membership type. Although younger and lapsed members ranked SJI first and parity last, older and professional members ranked the four values much closer to each other, suggesting an almost equal valence of all four values. This disparity in how different constituencies prioritize values sets the stage for conflict. It is important for the AATA, or any nonprofit, to prioritize its values so when difficult decisions position those values against one another, a values-based decision-making model will be available. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

Student’s Corner

My Practicum Experience
By Jess McKinley, MFA, MA Candidate at Antioch University, Seattle

My practicum with the Center for Chronic Illness has been conducted online since its inception at the beginning of January, 2021. Now that the groups are held online instead of in person, people have been joining the peer support platform from all over the country.

As an art therapy graduate student, the majority of my skills and theories classes have been online due to the pandemic. All of the mock sessions I have ever done have been via video. I now see a client in the University’s community clinic online as well. I have seen amazing resilience among my peers during this incredibly challenging time. While there are obvious drawbacks to figuring out how to administer art therapy online alongside my instructors, one narrative continues to eclipse all others. We are the pioneers of this new art therapy telemental health landscape (with the exception of Edinboro graduates, who figured this out long ago!). We will be the first generation of digital naturals. We’ve figured out how to do a lot online!

What is becoming evident is that even though there are many things lost in not being able to see clients in person – noticing their full body language, hearing the scratching of pastels on paper, providing space and materials for clients to make experimental work with finger paint or clay – art still works online. And there are things to be gained, namely, accessibility. As a member of the disability community, the value is not lost on me that my clients with chronic illness can Zoom in from bed, make art in bed, and share with others in bed. This is a gift of the pandemic: we now know we could have been accommodating different bodies, working single parents, contagious folks, and otherwise home-bound people all along. The drawback is also very clear: not everyone has a device and Internet or a safe place to make art. I am eagerly awaiting my internship, at which point I hope to get vaccinated as an essential worker so I can see clients in person.

Seattle has not been steadily returning to “normal” as other places have. Closures and openings have been a recursive merry-go-round. Many things are still closed, including many counselors’ and therapists’ offices. For a full-time graduate student who lives alone, I crave being able to return to our campus to hug people, to use the art studio at my school, and to be a non-virtual member of the world again. (Who knew I’d be so eager to pay for parking!) 

I made this piece, below, with markers in my support group, alongside the group members. The directive theme was Containment, which seems germane. I introduced it after attendees had been talking about areas where they felt unresolved grief and loss. 

This tree in Big Sur is my safe place. In the hole in the tree, I place a box with my emotions in it for safekeeping until I can retrieve it later and tend to it. The redwood forest takes care of these worries and sadnesses for me until then. I miss California so much, and I hope someday to return. Until then, I’m wishing y’all safety and solidarity from the Pacific Northwest.

Jess Minckley, MFA (she/they) is a 2022 MA candidate, Clinical Mental Health Counseling & Art Therapy, Antioch University Seattle. They are also the student liaison for the Evergreen Art Therapy Association (EATA).

NDNU Workshops

Reflections on NDNU’s Continuing Education Cultural Intersections in Art Therapy Series 2019-2021
Submitted by Sarah Kremer, Ph.D., LPCC, ATR-BC, and Amy Backos, Ph.D., ATR-BC

For the last two academic years, the NDNU Art Therapy Psychology Department has been presenting a series of continuing education workshops aimed at expanding art therapists’ understanding of art across communities where we live, create, and work, specifically in consideration of all aspects of culture including race, ethnicity, gender, age, sexuality, gender identity, and ability status. These workshops examine issues of power, systemic and internalized oppression, social justice, equity, and marginalized voices, as well as how our individual and societal experiences influence our work with our clients.

As the coordinator for continuing education at NDNU, it is important to me (Sarah) to intentionally and intensely focus on the ways in which our field and our practitioners have and have not examined these important cultural intersections. As the chair of the department, it is important to me (Amy) that faculty and students move away from our intellectual understanding of cultural competency and into a deep-felt sense knowing of cultural humility. This includes a commitment/ recommitment to the life-long journey of anti-racism and anti-oppression. We both believe that sharing power and bringing these topics into the therapy space benefits us, our clients, and our communities.

If you received your training more than 5 years ago, chances are that your exposure to cultural humility, anti-racism, and anti-oppressive practices was nonexistent to very little. What we have learned about our profession, mostly unconsciously, is that art therapy has traditionally espoused values and dominant narratives that echo the white supremacy and biases of psychology, health, and art. This patriarchal way of knowing systematically silenced the perspective of art therapists of color and advocated for dominant paradigms (Talwar, 2016). As art therapists living in these times where systemic injustices toward people from marginalized groups are prevalent and ongoing, we are obligated to continue building cultural humility and addressing relationships of power with clients and colleagues. Students in NDNU’s program are hungry to have these conversations and are looking to those working in the field to lead. We can no longer sit by and hope that someone else will do the work.

All of these workshops present multiple cultural identities and understandings, with the hope that the creative process can serve to shift the paradigm of oppression within our profession. Our presenters are art therapists with extensive academic, clinical, and lived experience who generously share their understandings of specific and intersectional cultural identities. The majority of our presenters have connections with NDNU’s Art Therapy Psychology program, from a current Master’s level student to a recent graduate, from current Ph.D. candidates to those who have completed the program. Other presenters from across the country have connections to the department and offer a variety of perspectives that align with the series’ intentions.

With the closing of NDNU’s campus last spring and the shift to offering distance learning, the opportunity to move workshops online created the ability for many more to join sessions from their homes across the country and world. For the first 11 workshops held between fall 2019 and spring 2021, 147 students, professionals, and others interested in art therapy have attended these sessions. Of these attendees, nearly half have been NDNU students – they are so eager to begin the dialog that they are paying to attend sessions outside of their regular coursework! We invite you to join our workshops and to more consciously include cultural humility in your cultural practice.

Evaluation results from all past workshops have shown the highest ratings of any workshops offered in previous years, 4.8 out of 5 (1= poor, 5 = excellent). Participants consistently commented on how these sessions presented ideas and concepts that have not been part of other learning opportunities, and that the time to reflect through sharing and art making has been valuable. While no virtual session has been seamless and without some technical difficulties, participants have been highly engaged and presenters have been gracious in creating community with however attendees are able to be present.

The list of our workshop series follows beginning with the last in the series in May 2021 to the first in November 2019, along with a participant comment for the sessions that have already occurred:

  • MAY 2021: Partnering with Schools for Successful Outcomes Inside and Outside the Classroom Using Art, Creativity, and Imagination with Claudia Mezzera, Ph.D., LMFT, ATR & Kelly Pemberton, MA, MS, LMFT
  • APRIL 2021: Using Data and a Racial/Ethnic Equity Perspective to Make Decisions in your Art Therapy Practice or Program with Nicole Fabrikant, MA, Jayashree George, DA, ATR-BC, LMFT, SEP & Sarah Kremer, Ph.D., LPCC, ATR-BC
  • APRIL 2021: White Accountability in Art Therapy: Working Toward Anti-Racist Practices and Systems Panel with Deb DelSignore, MA, ATR-BC; Katharine Joy Houpt, LCPC, ATR-BC; Sarah Kremer, Ph.D., LPCC, ATR-BC; Lauren Leone, DAT, AATR-BC, LMHC; Cathy Moon, MA, ATR-BC
  • MARCH 2021: Engaging the Whole Person, Working Toward Authenticity and Understanding of the Art Therapist Identity in the Clinical Practice of LGBTQ+ Clients with Missy Satterberg, Ph.D., LMFT, ATR-BC & Zara Drapkin, MA, LCSW
  • Cultural Humility in Collaborative Mental Health Using Art-Based Reflection: Examination of Race with Louvenia Jackson, Ph.D., LMFT, ATR-BC & Anthony Bodlovic, Ph.D., LMFT, ATR-BC. “This was such a wonderful session and space to be in. I am so appreciative for the knowledge and personal experiences shared. It can be so difficult to feel seen in a virtual space, but Louvenia and Anthony have done such a beautiful job. Thank you!
  • Raising Our Voices Loud Enough to Be Heard: Using Art Therapy as a Step Toward Empowerment with Christine Shea, MA, LMFT, ATR, Ph.D. cand.  “I feel really inspired, personally and in work with clients from Christine’s presentation. Thank you!
  • Gnarly New History: Altered Book Making for Refreshed Perspectives and Renewed Sociological Context with Kamaria Wells, MA Student. “Kamaria’s session was an informative and deeply impactful workshop. It would be lovely to have an ongoing series to explore and continue to rewrite our own and our communities’ histories.
  • Putting Theory into Practice: Sharing our Identities to Enhance Supervision with Yasmine Awais, MAAT, ATR-BC, ATCS, LCAT, LPC, & Daniel Blausey, MA, ATR-BC, ATCS, LCAT. “Thank you for this workshop and for your book, Yasmine and Daniel. You’ve presented a lot for me to reflect on as far as my own process and how I integrate these conversations into my life and practice. I’m inspired to expand my supervision program and develop new creative ways to discuss/share social identity.
  • Puppets and Art Therapy as an Arsenal of Hope: Working with Veterans Experiencing Homelessness and Drug Addiction in the World of COVID-19 with Berenice Badillo, Ph.D., LMFT, ATR-BC. “Berenice is an inspirational presenter. She provides so much information in an engaging way and her passion and enthusiasm are contagious. I could have stayed another 3 hours!
  • Collage Making: Microaggressions and Minority Women in the Workplace with Jotie Mondair, AMFT, ATR-P. “Very well done. I appreciated how Jotie provided opportunities to be an active participant along the way.
  • Ethics and Practice of Art Therapy in the Age of White Supremacy and COVID-19 with Savneet Talwar, Ph.D., ATR-BC. “I appreciate the layers of discussion and sharing of art-making time in Savneet’s workshop. It got me thinking about many facets that I had not before.
  • Engaging the Whole Person, Working Toward Authenticity and Understanding of the Art Therapist Identity in the Clinical Practice of LGBTQ Clients + screening of the documentary, REAL BOY with Missy Satterberg, Ph.D., LMFT, ATR-BC & Zara Drapkin, MA, LCSW. “Very refreshing in terms of centering queer/ trans voice. Having Missy and Zara be able to bounce back and forth to speak on different things kept it lively; and both were very open and friendly professionals.
  • Empowered Aging: Critical Skills for Addressing Ageism and Supporting Older Adult Clients with Erin Partridge, Ph.D., ATR-BC. “This was a great workshop & really helped to build on things I have been researching & seeing within my own work in this population. Erin was very clear, passionate/ enthusiastic, and made it a great learning experience.
  • Changing Woman Rides in Economy Class: Taking My Indigenous/ Feminist Consciousness Across the World with Jennifer Clay, LMFT, ATR-BC, Ph.D. candidate. “Jennifer combined several high-level concepts related to culture and feminism and applied them directly to the art process, which is not always something we see in workshops – excellent!
  • Ethics and White Privilege in Art Therapy: How Do You Stand? with Deborah Sharpe, ATR-BC, Ph.D. candidate, & Sarah Kremer, Ph.D., LPCC, ATR-BC. “The workshop with Deborah and Sarah was a very different way to address/ work on this topic – something that is really important in these days.

If you are interested in improving or finetuning your cultural knowledge, skills, and abilities, there are four more workshops that you can still attend! Please go to to learn more about our remaining NDNU workshops and register online. We hope to see you there!

Creative Submissions

“Where I’m From…”
By Kayla Ormandy

I am from teapot, kettle, and pan.
I am from the white picket fence,
yellow lily bushes,
purple columbines.
Where the grass glistens softly
and the bees hum lazily.
I am from the deep thunder that rumbles in the middle of the night, the tenacious desert scrub brush, and the magic glinting in a doe’s eye; teaching me the truth of the mysteries of life.
I am from taco salad, and Yahtzee nights.
From Amy and Michael.
The silent sufferers. The compassionate, the wise, the martyrs, whose anger turned inwards.  Their humor, their appreciation, their creativity, their love.
I’m from angels in the sky and money growing on trees.
From “shut the gates” to “a woman can do anything a man can do”,
from the defiant, the believers, the heathens, the path walkers, the black sheep.
I am from Colorado, Ireland, France, Scotland and Scandinavia.
I was raised on mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, and baked beans.
Fed by the rioters, the mischief makers, the warriors. The clan that fought, the strawberry farmers, the pig stealers. The entrepreneurs, the founding settlers. The survivors, the thrivers, the artists, and the kindness that comes with having a powerful heart.
I am from power, persistence, dedication, gentleness, and the dream of what could be.

Based on Appalachian poet George Ella Lyon’s “Where I’m From” writing prompt.


Calling All Heart-Makers and Change-Makers! Fall 2021
By Tracy Ferron

NorCATA member Tracy Ferron and her Life on Earth Art team are enlisting artists, art therapists and community groups to collaborate on Unbound, a visionary art project launching at Napa State Hospital this fall. 

Unbound transforms a recreation hall in one of California’s largest mental institutions into an evocative space of healing, creativity and wonder. Unbound brings diverse people together to make hundreds of paper mâché winged hearts for a stunning artwork of hope and collective liberation. This 50-foot central sculpture features countless winged hearts escaping an antique birdcage, growing ever larger and more expressive as they fly through Napa State’s large hall.  The hearts grow in size from six inches to nine feet.

In collaboration with the DSH-Napa Rehabilitation Services Department, headed by Camille Gentry, RTC, the project involves a team of rehabilitation therapists and three months of programming for hundreds of patients and staff, integrating other modalities such as music, movement, poetry and spoken word. The installation expands and grows over the three-month period, as various sizes of hearts are produced by patients and the outside community and hung on the sculpture.

Napa State art therapist Evan Graff, MA, ATR proposed the project to the hospital, and sees it as “offering hope, resilience and faith” at a time when patients’ spirits are very low, not having had any visitors since the beginning of the pandemic. In helping the Napa State community heal from the isolation and difficulties of the last year, the project aims to also increase compassion and decrease stigma around issues of mental health in our community.

Ferron states, “The intention of the project is for compassion and a sense of connection, of our common humanity, to ripple out as an antidote to the fear and division plaguing our society. 

It is my belief that personal healing, the forging of a robust social fabric and creating a just world are all intimately interwoven.” 

Unbound needs your heart-in-action! The installation is scheduled for September 2021, and hundreds of winged hearts will need to be pre-made for patients to paint. Community participants can also make and paint their own winged heart to be included as part of the exhibit. Life on Earth Art is currently coordinating with schools, families, and community groups in Northern California for socially distanced winged heart-making from April through November, and invites interested artists and art therapists to collaborate and explore how this modality can best be used for catalytic personal and community healing. 

Unable to make hearts? Please consider a tax-deductible donation in support of the project at [we will provide link].
To get involved, please see or contact Tracy Ferron at or 415-755-7033.