This past week has been full of exciting events for Florida State’s Department of Art Education. Several students, faculty, alumni and friends of the Department traveled to San Antonio, Texas to attend the 45th Annual American Art Therapy Association Conference as well as the FSU Friends and Alumni Reception, both of which were considered to be a smashing success.
The 2014 AATA Conference focused on Trailblazing the Future and offered over 100 informative sessions regarding the current work of art therapists across the nation and the exciting innovations that are of recent importance within the profession. The Department of Art Education is thrilled to announce that several of our own students and professors were invited to present at the conference. We are thrilled to thank Dr. Carolyn Brown-Treadon, Dr. Theresa Van Lith, Dr. Dave Gussak, Rachel Mims, Jamie Robertson, Brittany Washington and Hillary Kern for representing the Florida State University at the Conference.
Dr. Carolyn Brown-Treadon, presented a session entitled “Art Therapy with Young Children: Engaging in Creative Expression” that focused on providing a supervision group for art therapists, or other professionals with an interest in working with young children. Dr. Brown-Treadon believes that engaging young children in creative expression and assisting others in making sense of this expression is paramount to success within her therapeutic practices. She offered this presentation as an opportunity to discuss successes, challenges and strategies in a general context or with a specific case as related to the issues encountered by young children.
Dr. Brown-Treadon also helped to assist Florida State Art Therapy Master’s Students Rachel Mims, Hillary Kern and Brittany Washington to present a panel about enhancing cohesion in graduate classrooms through participation in a self-care Art Directive; the Art Journal Swap. During the panel, the students discussed their participation in a student created and led self-care art journal swap at Florida State University. Dr. Brown- Treadon helped to facilitate the discussion and explained how this type of project can be implemented at work, school or personal development.
Meanwhile Dr. Dave Gussak also led several presentations about forensic Art Therapy. His first presentation was a panel discussion with Dr. Randy Vick and Linda Gantt in which the presenters employed an extreme case research model to reveal connections between art therapy, forensics, outsider art and art history. Next, Dr. Gussak led a presentation about the legal, ethical and moral paradoxes of a forensic art therapist. To help elucidate his view, Dr. Gussak relied on a court case in which an art therapist provided expert witness testimony on the artwork of a man being tried for murder. Dr. Gussak’s final presentation regarding forensics was held in a focus group community and encouraged professional discourse regarding the various roles an art therapist may envelop between the realms of forensic art therapy and art therapy in forensic settings.
Dr. Gussak also serves as chair of the nominating committee for the AATA and in addition to his forensic related presentations. He also participated in a focus group that provides members of the AATA an opportunity to hear the purpose, goals and structure of the membership-elected Nominating Committee, with an emphasis on becoming involved in the leadership of the AATA organization.
Another professor within the Department of Art Education, Dr. Theresa Van Lith, led a presentation that discussed the focus within the mental health system to develop evidence-base practice. However, Dr. Van Lith claimed within her presentation that research that seeking to understand the mechanisms of art therapy is fraught with complexities. Her presentation discussed four major questions from her doctoral study that a client raised during participation in the study and the implications of addressing those questions.
Students Brittany Washington and Jamie Robertson collaborated with other professionals to provide two presentations. The first focused on illuminating the African-American art therapy graduate student experience. These two ladies discussed several challenges of minority students in predominately white institutions, and stressed the importance of mentoring and recruitment for various minority groups. Additionally, our students were able to offer recommendations for implementing culturally sensitive pedagogy and supervision to those who attended their session. The second presentation focused on recent tragedies such as the Trayvon Martin case that have illuminated the need for social justice initiatives that foster cross-cultural empathy.
We were also pleased by the number of people who attended the Florida State/ Emporia/ Notre Dame Friends and Family Reception at the Nueva Gallery in San Antonio. The event was a beautiful and unforgettable occasion of professional discourse and camaraderie. Thank you to all who attended!
Read more on the Department of Art Education at the Art Education Blog.