A Visual Reflection on Art Therapy Foundations

First-year MPS Art Therapy student, Athena Toldeo, reflects on the foundations of Art Therapy: “I started this illustration with a portrait of [Art Therapy pioneer] Margaret Naumburg – I then began to draw [another pioneer,] Edith Kramer on the far left corner. After contemplating their roles, I began to think beyond these figures and consider ancestral influences of art and culture. This led to the depictions of cave art on the top left corner. I feel it is a native and metaphysical force that drives creative action. The little orbs represent thought and how thoughts can be translated through virtual language.

The middle of Edith and Naumburg is a window, because along with Freud and Jung- these individuals were interested in entering the window of someone’s world through different forms of therapy.

On the bottom right is a New York City skyline because many of the institutions that help facilitate American art therapy training were first developed in New York. In the middle of the Hudson River is a huge iceberg, in reference to Freud’s psychoanalytic theory.

On the right is a continuation of thought- as I feel the art therapy field runs deeper than the historic figures that helped structure its value. I feel art therapy is about having someone support you through a journey. In this case – I feel art therapy can help lead someone out of stormy waters. Art therapy can provide coping tools and lead to a road of discovery. Art therapy can help navigate through emotions that are difficult to articulate. Art therapy can reveal the power we have within to take agency in our lives.”

Thank you, Athena, for sharing your work!

Posted in 2020, Art, Students

Art Therapy Resources on Racial Trauma via the American Art Therapy Association

We stand in solidarity with protestors advocating for black lives across the world. We are committed to fighting racism and injustice. The American Art Therapy Association (AATA)’s blog series “Breaking the Chains of Racial Trauma in Therapy” is one great resource to learn more about the important role Art Therapists can play in combating systematic racism. The series features the writings of four subject matter experts who share tips from their perspectives on the topic of racial trauma and therapy. 

Posted in 2020, Students

The Mural Project 2019-20: Looking Back

Today we’re looking back on the final days of The Mural Project with this year’s group of  Artistic Noise A&E artists. Due to the current crisis, we weren’t able to showcase this year’s murals with an in-person event, but hopefully, these images provide a glimpse into all of the hard work and dedication these artists exhibited while completing their impressive murals and installations!

Posted in 2020, Art, Special Programs and Projects, Students

Resources for Art Therapists during COVID-19 via the American Art Therapy Association

The American Art Therapy Association (AATA) has compiled a number of helpful resources. Here, they include important information for Art Therapists, Educators, and the general public:

Additional resources may be found here:

Posted in Uncategorized

MPS Art Therapy Students Create “Quarantine Quilts” Group

In the Know talks with MPS Art Therapy students Missy Rubenfeld and Ella Hilsenrath about the Facebook community they started where quilt makers could share photos of their “quarantine quilts.”

Read the full feature here! https://www.intheknow.com/2020/03/26/quarantine-quilts-facebook-group-brings-people-together/

Posted in 2020, Art, Special Programs and Projects, Students

COVID-19 Resources

5 Tips for Staying Emotionally Healthy During COVID-19: Advice from MPS Art Therapy Alumnus Katie Hinson

Art Therapist and SVA Alumnus, Katie Hinson working with a young child. (Note: This photo was taken prior to the Coronavirus outbreak. Masks are desperately needed by medical professionals now and should be reserved for their use.)

COVID-19 Quarantine resources for Students and Parents via Art Therapist, Mia De Bethune:

-Daily Writing Prompts:

28 Day sketch challenge: https://brooklynartlibrary.org/28daychallenge

Kids Activity Guide: https://www.nymetroparents.com/at-home-fun.pdf?utm_source=NYMetroParents&utm_campaign=d4b6423588-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2020_03_17_09

Activities for Artists:

Scholastic Inc Resources: https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/coronavirus.html

-These 12 Famous Museums Offer Virtual Tours You Can Take on Your Couch: https://www.travelandleisure.com/attractions/museums-galleries/museums-with-virtual-tours

Cincinnati Zoo to start ‘Home Safari Facebook Live’ to keep kids learning during their time off: https://www.wkyc.com/article/entertainment/cincinnati-zoo-to-start-home-safari-facebook-live-to-keep-kids-learning-during-their-time-off/95-4d957e04-50dc-4f18-9e9c-63e8dd5012f4

Boredom Busters: 110 Fun At-Home Activities for Families & Kids: https://familyeguide.com/boredom-busters-110-fun-at-home-activities-for-families-kids-2/

-49 Montessori-inspired ideas for indoor activities with your kids https://www.mother.ly/child/montessori-inspired-indoor-activities


Free Learning Resources:





The Pikes Peak Library District has closed all physical locations, but you can still use the library’s digital collection of books, audiobooks, magazines, videos, and more. The library also has links to a great collection of games for kids.

There are online learning resources for adults, too! There are hundreds of free Ivy League classes from Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Penn, Princeton and Yale.

Posted in 2020, Alumni, Art, Professional Development, Students

MPS Art Therapy Student Highlight: Jenna Santos

MPS Art Therapy: What drew you to Art Therapy?

Jenna: I actually found it by accident. I was 17 and knew I wanted a career in the arts, but did not know what exactly to do. I felt like my personal art did my talking for me because I was really quiet, but I always felt I could be more and art therapy allows me to do that. When I looked into SVA for my undergraduate degree, I accidentally clicked on the Master’s programs and saw Art Therapy and realized that was it! I came to the open house before I even started my undergrad!

MPS Art Therapy: How did you decide to come to SVA?

Jenna: SVA is what I found first and I looked into other programs, but when I went to the open house here, it just felt right. I knew beginning undergrad that I would stick with Art Therapy and SVA ended up sticking with me.

MPS Art Therapy: What is your favorite part of the program?

Jenna: The people are my favorite part. The professors, the class itself is something I am grateful to be a part of. They are really supportive and open for each in ways that not many other people outside of the program can understand.

MPS Art Therapy: Tell us about your internship: where, what population, and what you like about it.

Jenna: My internship is with The Art Therapy Project, which is a non-profit that provides art therapy services for people affected by trauma for free. Part of that is that they work with a variety of populations, including hospitals, veterans, LGBTQ+ youth, and adults in substance abuse recovery, which is where I work. It is a residential facility for adults with chemical substance abuse recovery. I really like that it is long term and I have the opportunity to form strong therapeutic relationships with them. This specific internship I chose for my second year because of how prevalent substance abuse recovery is as it is an epidemic and I feel it is so important to provide services to those in recovery, and also because of the small size of the organization, which has been helpful in allowing me to develop my clinical voice.

MPS Art Therapy: What is your advice for those considering a career in Art Therapy?

Jenna: My advice would be to allow yourself the space to be wrong and not know everything. It is really hard to sit with that and as a therapist, you want to be perfect for your client. It is hard, but better in the long run because it is what allows growth. Prepare to change and adapt to anything that might come up. Having the ability to do that is a huge strength that I did not know before starting this program.

Posted in 2020, Students

Community Access at MoMA The Museum of Modern Art

This week, MPS Art Therapy’s Community Access class went on a trip to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) this week to learn about the ways that the museum strives to be accessible to all visitors. Here, students had the opportunity to gain an understanding of what the MoMA has to offer for the community, including the clients they work with at their internship sites.

The Director of Community Access and School Programs began by providing a presentation about programming for individuals with disabilities. She then took the group on a “touch tour,” in the galleries, allowing students to touch (with gloves!) five bronze busts created by Henri Matisse. The touch tour is something that is offered to people who are blind and have vision impairments. 

Students also learned more about ways that the MoMA trains their “frontline” workers (those who interact with visitors the most) in regard to interacting with people with special needs. They also discussed some recent changes to the MoMA post-renovation.

Visiting museums can be so beneficial for many clients. Viewing art can bring up various things for people, as well as act as a conversation stimulus. Conversing about art is something anyone can do. The MoMA’s access program not only allows for group visits, but also allows for educators to go to an organization to bring art to the clients. This is especially fruitful for patients admitted to a hospital or otherwise unable to travel. 

There are many wonderful opportunities we can provide for the people we work with, especially being in New York City, and this visit to the MoMA demonstrates just one of them!

Posted in 2020, Art, art galleries, Exhibition, Galleries, In Class, Students

The Family Life Cycle Theory

All families go through a variety of circumstances. Recently, second year MPS Art Therapy students discussed and created visual representations of The Family Life Cycle Theory. This theory outlines the stages of development that a family may be going through. The stages are defined in the following manner:

Beginning couple: Navigating relationship and family development,
career and financial status/goals, cultural expectations

Family with an infant: Role of parents, parental relationship shifts,
parenting styles, and involvement of extended family and strangers
(e.g. babysitters) in a child’s life.

Family with school-aged children: Social integration of children and
parents with other social circles, children becoming more autonomous,
and cultural expectations

Family with teenagers : Shift in limits and boundaries,
independence/separation from the family unit, responsibility shifts

Launching children from home: Shift of identity, loss

Post Parental – Becoming grandparents, relationship shifts between
parents and children, potentially shift of caring for aging parents

Each of these stages consists of a variety of tasks that the family faces, with just some of the many listed above. Using this theory to try to frame a family’s development can be helpful in approaching therapy with the family. While each family has different components and does not necessarily go through these stages in this order, it is a framework that can act as a starting point in thinking about the family’s treatment.

Posted in 2020, Art, In Class, Students

Special Project with El Puente Williams Plaza After School Program

MPS Art Therapy had a great time collaborating with the El Puente Williams Plaza After School Program yesterday! Participants created mixed media, self-representational album covers.

Posted in 2020, Art, Special Programs and Projects, Students, Workshops