CATS of Color hosted two powerful events on January 29, 2016. The first event was an art exhibit reception. The theme of the show was The Weight of Culture, which gave each member the opportunity to educate the packed house on what it is like to be a creative art therapist of color. I attended the events with three classmates, all of which are Caucasian, and as the only African American student in my class, a lot of the artwork also mirrored my experience as a graduate student. Attending the events made it a lot easier to discuss pressing issues with my classmates.
The following event was a lecture series, discussing the cultural issues in the art therapy field. The objective of the lecture was to continue to strive for cultural competence. The audience was diverse, but majority of the room was caucasian women. The event began with an interactive directive, we were instructed to discuss with our neighbors the first time we discovered our racial identity. I teamed up with a Filipino woman who is a dance therapist in training and a Caucasian woman who is an art therapist currently working with the adolescent population. After the group discussion, the lecturers educated the audience on understanding that cultural competence is a lifelong journey.
Text by Natasha Underdue, first year MPS Art Therapy student