Good Art: Bad City: A Pop-Up Shop by Artistic Noise

Artistic Noise youth invite the NYC community to get to know them by transforming the MPS Art Therapy studio space into their Pop-Up Shop. This event expands a collaborative art project that is currently in-process. Artistic Noise exists to bring the freedom and power of artistic practice to young people who are incarcerated, on probation, or otherwise involved in the justice system.


Friday, November 10, 2017, 5-7pm
MPS Art Therapy Department
132 West 21 Street, 5th Floor Studio
Posted in Art, art galleries, Exhibition, Faculty, Galleries, Professional Development, Students, Workshops

Safe Spaces Gallery Tour

Two of the Safe Spaces curators, SVA MPS Art Therapy alumni Leslie Achitoff and Rob Belgrod, arranged gallery tours of the exhibition for SVA students.  First year MPS Art Therapy student Jenny Asaro describes her experience of the gallery tour here:

While art is always up for interpretation, the interpretation of an outsider is inevitably less insightful than that of an insider. This was exemplified in the gallery tour given by Rob Belgrod, as he provided insight into the artwork of his clients at Rikers Island. Prior to the gallery tour, I had been moved by the concept of showcasing the artwork of inmates at the prison. The act of bringing personal artwork to the public sphere speaks to the empowerment of a population which is disempowered by the nature of their situation. The work in this show, and the art therapy sessions which precluded it, focused on visual representation of a safe space.

What I gathered from Rob’s description of the clients’ artwork is that many of the people who end up at Rikers Island have not had a safe space for the majority of their lives. This includes the time prior to their imprisonment, as illustrated in one client’s drawing of a safe space as a mother’s womb. For another client, the safe space was a blurry memory of a moment in childhood. Most strikingly, a group of clients depicted their safe space as the prison itself, illuminating the danger of their lives outside of their incarceration. I was moved to hear the reality of working with those who are incarcerated, which Rob graciously described in response to the tour participants’ questions. He spoke of his clients with respect and care, which I take as proof of the strength of their therapeutic alliance. Hearing the stories of an art therapist in the prison setting and seeing the art produced by those who are incarcerated brought a sense of connection and inspiration. This gallery show demonstrated the power of art therapy when used with what is generally viewed as a difficult population.

The exhibition is on view until October 26, 2017.  Email [email protected] for viewing times.

Posted in Alumni, Art, art galleries, Exhibition, Galleries, Professional Development, Students, Workshops

Community Lecture Series: Creatively Reusing Materials to Engage Participation, Friday, October 20

Join SVA MPS Art Therapy for the first Community Lecture Series of the Fall 2017 Semester!

Friday, October 20, 2017, 6:30-8pm

133 West 21st Street, Room 101C

Free and open to the public

CEC’s available to ATR-BCs

Creatively Reusing Materials to Engage Participation

Presenter: John Kaiser, MA, Director of Education, Materials for the Arts, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs

John Cloud Kaiser’s work reminds you that you are an artist.  Through his position as Education Director at Materials for the Arts, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, and his work with his art group Free Style Arts Association, he has been doing participation-based art in the museums, streets, and schools of New York City since 2000, appearing everywhere from P.S 1 MoMA, to the NYC Parks Department, to the New York Times.  The emphasis of his work is on giving people a creative participatory experience with an art piece while at the same time creating an incredibly dynamic work of art.

John Kaiser graduated from NYU with an MA in Art Education and has worked as a teaching artist and curator since 2003 organizing hundreds of Contemporary Art projects at New York and New Jersey public schools.  He teaches art teachers through professional development programs, advises schools, and lectures on his education approaches at conferences.  Some examples of his artwork can be found here:

Lecture learning outcome objectives:

Attendees will learn the value of reusing free materials in their practice and learn about many examples of reuse projects.

Attendees will learn how and where to access free reusable art supplies.

Attendees will learn techniques for reuse art making and instruction.

Register online today!

Posted in Art, Professional Development, Special Programs and Projects, Students

MPS Art Therapy Information Session: Saturday, October 14th, 12pm-2pm

SVA MPS Art Therapy invites any prospective applicants to join us this Saturday, October 14th, for an information session.  Attendees will have the opportunity to meet with department staff, faculty, alumni, and current students to learn more about the program.  132 West 21st Street, 3rd Floor, 12 noon-2pm.

Please register in advance online!

Posted in Alumni, Faculty, Professional Development, Students

Interview with Lesley Achitoff, MPS Art Therapy Class of 2004

SVA Features recently interviewed Lesley Achitoff, MPS Art Therapy Class of 2004, about her involvement with Safe Spaces.  Please enjoy the full interview on the SVA website.  Safe Spaces is on view through October 26 in the MPS Art Therapy 5th Floor Gallery Space.

Posted in Alumni, Art, art galleries, Exhibition, Galleries, Professional Development

Safe Spaces: Opening Reception October 4, 5-8pm

Safe Spaces, an exhibition with artwork and music created by people incarcerated on Rikers Island, runs from October 4-26

Opening Reception October 4, 5pm-8pm

132 West 21st Street, 5th Floor Project Space Gallery

Additional viewing hours by appointment

Posted in Alumni, Art, art galleries, Exhibition, Galleries, Professional Development

Kate Lacour, MPS Art Therapy Class of 2009, TEDx Talk

Kate Lacour, MPS Art Therapy alumnus, class of 2009, recently gave a TEDx talk on her current work.  She has been working on a creative community access project in New Orleans where she founded a creative arts nonprofit which runs a sci-fi Mardi Gras performance group for teens with autism.  She is currently partnering with the engineering department at Tulane University to help the teenage workshop participants build a musical vehicle in the university’s maker lab.  You can view her talk, blog, photos and more at

Kate says, “here in New Orleans, there is a real dearth of special needs services, and art therapy (which is not licensed or officially recognized in this state) is virtually nonexistent.  I’m proud to be a part of this project; it fills a void and perseveres in spite of very limited resources.”

Posted in Alumni, Professional Development

2017 Art Therapy Conference Reading Packet

The following PDFs constitute work from and recommended by presenters at the most recent Art Therapy Conference at SVA, Creative Arts Therapies: Innovation and Integration. Please note that this reading packet is for educational purposes only. All work is copyright the respective authors and publishers.




Posted in Alumni, Conference, Faculty, Professional Development, Special Programs and Projects, Students

REMINDER! MPS Art Therapy 2017 Annual Conference This Friday, September 8, 2017

Reminder!  Please join us for the SVA MPS Art Therapy’s 2017 Annual Conference,

Creative Arts Therapies: Innovation and Integration.

Friday, September 8, 2017

9:30am-4pm (Registration will begin at 9am)

SVA Theatre, 333 West 23rd Street

Registration is now available online!

Posted in Uncategorized

Introducing Our 2017 Conference Panel Moderator: Eileen McGann

The MPS Art Therapy 2017 Annual Conference, Creative Arts Therapies: Innovation and Integration, is coming up on September 8!  In previous posts we introduced our guest speakers.  This week we are featuring our panel moderator, Eileen McGann, who comments on her work and the conference theme of innovation and integration:

Eileen McGann, ATR-BC, LCAT

In reflecting upon the conference theme of innovation and integration my belief is that these two dynamics are easily interwoven when the process is genuine, emerges from and honors the individual. Innovation comes with understanding and experiencing the other as unique and focusing on their process of self-exploration and stability in emotional states of being. As human beings, while we may share common experiences, thoughts, feelings we also bring a personal history and relationships that are quite unique.  My work as an art therapist has been with young people who have experienced complex trauma taking a studio based approach and developing with them a visual vocabulary through the arts.

As Director of the Arts and Creative Therapies at MercyFirst we have been using the arts as a catalyst for addressing issues of social justice. The focus of these artistic endeavors is to unify people in awareness, reduce perceptions of bias, increase tolerance, acceptance and affirmation of each other and build relationships that are inclusive: aspects of what we all need for a socially just world and from which we can all benefit.

The arts can provide us with a way of expressing and communicating personal experiences, feelings, dreams, fears, struggles, achievements and hope. Through visual narrative and symbolic expression, the individual and common human experience can be understood – a soulful expression that does not necessarily need language translation – the arts can unite us.

Eileen P McGann, ATR-BC, LCAT

Eileen has a broad range of clinical experience concentrated in therapeutic milieu and studio approach with young people who have experienced complex and chronic trauma, refugee children, as well as adult survivors of trauma and women veterans. Eileen developed and is the Director of the Arts and Creative Therapies program at Mercy First in Syosset, New York.  Eileen’s writings about art therapy have been published nationally and internationally as well as translated into other languages.  Her lectures and consultations include the United States, France, Estonia, Ireland, Turkey and in Slovakia where the United States Embassy sponsored her role. As a member of the Non-Governmental Organization Partnership for Global Justice, Eileen presented at a United Nations Orientation and writes for their newsletter. She recently participated as a faculty leader at the Salzburg Global Citizen Alliance in Austria. In addition to exhibitions, which include Long Island Museum, Islip Art Museum, Evers Gallery, Gallery North, Molloy College Art Gallery (solo), and New York University, The School of Eileen McGann’s artwork has been featured as book and journal covers.  A former member of the Editorial Board of Art Therapy, Journal of the American Art Therapy Association, Eileen also holds a long-time connection as faculty member in the Honors program at Molloy College as well as the Graduate Art Therapy Programs at New York University and SVA.


Don’t forget to register for the conference in advance!

Posted in Uncategorized