Posts Tagged ‘international’

During 2011, Art Therapy Without Borders will be featuring members from the Advisory Council as an opportunity to learn more about their work and some of the art therapy initiatives they are involved in that speak to this community’s vision.  May’s spotlight includes Gloria Simoneaux:

Gloria Simoneaux, MA, REAT, EXA, is the founding director of Harambee Arts,  a program in sub-Saharan Africa. Gloria taught Expressive Arts to counselors in Nairobi as a Fulbright scholar, affiliated with the Kenya Association of Professional Counselors. She is the Founder of DrawBridge: An Arts Program for Homeless Children, has worked with pediatric oncology patients in San Francisco hospitals and is currently a consultant with Save the Children.

Tell readers a little about yourself and what your interests are in art therapy. I’ve worked with children using art since I was a 13 year old volunteer in a hospital in Brooklyn. My path has always been clear to me driven by my passionate love for children and my belief in art as a tool for healing. In 1980 I received a grant to work with pediatric oncology patients in two San Francisco bay area hospitals, using the arts for expression and healing. After eight years I needed a break from the overwhelming grief that surrounded me. In 1989, family homelessness was emerging as a big problem in America, with few safety nets. At that time, The Hamilton Family Center was the only emergency shelter in SF. I called the director and explained my interest in setting up a therapeutic arts program for homeless children. Within ten minutes, I was hired on the phone. Three months after that I was awarded a three-year grant to continue the work.  As the homeless problem grew, so did the numbers of shelters and transitional housing sites in SF. The new shelters also needed psycho-social support programs for the children, and so DrawBridge; An Arts Program for Homeless Children was born. Other staff joined the team and soon we were creating art with children in six shelters in three counties. After 20 years we were in seven counties; more than 25 shelters. I left DrawBridge in 2007 and it is still thriving. In 2008 I went to Nairobi, Kenya for a year and a half  as a Fulbright scholar to teach art therapy to psychologists and counselors throughout the country. Harambee Arts is the small non-profit organization that I started, also in 2007. We have three strong on-going community arts projects in Nairobi: 1- A support group for HIV+ women prisoners. 2- Arts programs for children with autism and Down’s syndrome and 3- Arts and leadership training for children in the slums of Kibera (Africa’s largest slum). Currently, I am a consultant for Save the Children (HEART Project), teaching trainers, and providing on-going support, in Nepal, Malawi and Haiti. I also oversee the Harambee Arts Project, directed by a young man from Rwanda.

What do you believe are important considerations or emerging issues for the international art therapy community to pay attention to? As art therapy becomes more accepted as an intervention world-wide, the issue that is foremost in my mind is acknowledging cultural differences. It is critical that people interested in sharing their skills internationally, learn to do so sensitively, without imposing our western ideas and standards.  I was recently asked to design and teach a course at CIIS (California Institute for Integral Studies) on Expressive Arts Internationally and how to work and teach in other cultures. It’s been a big challenge for me to be flexible and patient while working in cultures that are entirely different to the one I am accustomed to. I am still learning and practicing.

What are some special art therapy projects you are working on for/in 2011?  I’ve been a consultant with Save the Children since 2009 and I’m currently working on projects in Nepal, Malawi and Haiti. My burning interest at the moment is working with survivors of sexual trafficking and slavery. I had an opportunity to lead a training recently in Nepal for a miraculous group of 25 women survivors who have formed an organization called Shakti Samuha. After working with them, I became a bit obsessed and wanted to drop everything else to work side by side with the survivors. I’m trying to raise money to go back and do in depth therapy with the women and extensive training in expressive arts. I also worked (in Nepal) for the first time with hearing impaired children and I am excited to continue that work, as well. I’ll be making my first trip to Haiti soon and I’ve been preparing for the very different cultural experience (most of my experience has been in Africa and Asia). I have been told that children in Haiti are not recognized as human until after they join the workforce. 

4. How can people contact you or find out more about your work? My email address is: and my website is I welcome communication from anyone who wants to find out more.


We’ve been busy receiving, reading, scanning, and posting postcards that have been arriving in our mailboxes since last week’s deadline for our International Postcard Art Exchange.  Participants signed up last fall and since then there’s been a postcard art frenzy from art therapists and art therapy students around the world!

Over 250 postcards were received by ATWB from 23 countries throughout the last six months.  It was great to see this collaborative project helping to provide connection and community about art therapy worldwide.

Visit the ATWB website to check out our slideshow featuring the postcards we received.  Postcards, blog postings, and comments about the project are also available to view on our Facebook page as well.  Thank you to everyone who participated!

If you are interested in future art collaborations happening within our communities, remember to stay connected to receive new announcements and updates!

During 2011, Art Therapy Without Borders will be featuring members from the Advisory Council as an opportunity to learn more about their work and some of the art therapy initiatives they are involved in that speak to this community’s vision.  April’s spotlight includes Rebekah Chilcote, MA, ATR, PC:

Registered Art Therapist, Professional Counselor, and Fulbright Scholar Rebekah Chilcote, MA, ATR, PC has worked with child survivors of the Sri Lanka tsunami, children in Africa orphaned by AIDS and Palestine youth impacted by violence and war in the West Bank. Rebekah also currently serves as an Assistant Program Coordinator for the International Child Art Foundation’s Haiti Healing Arts Team and  works with the African Heart Art project.

Tell readers a little about yourself and what your interests are in art therapy: I am passionate about international art therapy and helping traumatized children world-wide.  I grew up in Africa as a missionary kid and as a twelve-year-old, spent every waking moment at an orphanage in Zimbabwe where I helped care for forty-five infants and toddlers, including baby Aaron who died of AIDS. This experience changed my life forever and I later returned to Zimbabwe as a Fulbright scholar to carry out a study on the use of art with children orphaned by AIDS. The materials were basic; the art tasks simple; the results profound. Children who had watched their family members die of AIDS had no chance to express their grief and pain. Their emotional needs, left unaddressed, were overwhelming.  Through drawing and painting the orphans opened their hearts to me, pouring out stories of trauma, but also hope. This was my first experience with the power of art therapy and I have since completed a master’s degree with the hopes of moving back to Africa to establish long-term art therapy programs there. In recent years, I have continued my passion of traveling the world, providing art therapy for traumatized children on four continents. I have lived and worked with child tsunami survivors in Sri Lanka, street kids in Ethiopia, homeless children in Cleveland, genocide survivors in Rwanda and most recently children traumatized by war in the West Bank, Palestine. People often ask me, ‘how can you stand the suffering?’ To me, it is the greatest honor of my life to walk beside those in desperate need. It is my holy ground.

What do you believe are important considerations or emerging issues for the international art therapy community to pay attention to?  I believe that addressing cross-cultural issues is of the utmost importance when discussing international art therapy today. The need to offer healing to those in need, while, at the same time maintaining cultural sensitivity and awareness is critical.  I believe it is important to avoid imposing western standards or methodology without understanding the culture you are in. Some questions I ask myself when arriving in a new country for the first time are: “What are the needs of the people here and how can I work along-side them to bring healing?” How do they express grief culturally?” “What healing mechanisms are already in place within the culture, such as art expression, dance, or tribal rituals?”

I strongly emphasize working hand in hand with the local people as this impacts program success in the short-term and sustainability of the program in the long run.  It is always my primary aim to enter into a new culture with gentleness, sensitivity and openness, offering my skills, but not imposing them. As more and more art therapists begin to explore and travel our world, the need for this understanding is great.

What are some special art therapy projects you are working on in 2011?  My efforts right now are focused on supervising the children’s program at a residential homeless shelter in inner-city Cleveland. I find the work both challenging and exhilarating; the children some of the most remarkable I have known.

I am spending a lot of time writing and am working on preparing a book for publication which will include children’s drawings, paintings, art therapy sessions and personal stories from around the world. In addition, I am writing grant proposals and applying for funding to establish an ongoing art therapy/ grief center on the continent of Africa (hopefully in Zimbabwe). With over one million children orphaned by AIDS in the country of Zimbabwe alone, the need for art therapy and grief work is great. I am hoping to connect with partners, both locally and globally to join me in this venture.

How can people contact you or find out more about your work?  Feel free to email me at or connect with me on Facebook.

FUSION Volume 3, Number 1, an e-zine for Planet Art Therapy  and inspired by members and initiatives of Art Therapy Without Borders, Inc., The Art Therapy Alliance and International Art Therapy Organization [IATO] is now out!  FUSION is dedicated to a new energy, excitement, and blend of ideas, cultures, and people for a sustainable future in art therapy.

This issue features some of the exciting news, activities, and global work from art therapists worldwide to bring change and transformation to people’s lives and communities everyday. Learn about how art therapists are assisting with disaster recovery efforts in Japan, an update on ATWB’s International Postcard Art Exchange, Advisory Council interviews, our features section about art therapy & autism, and more!

Check out the video below to see a preview of this issue and download your free PDF copy here:

Feel free to share FUSION with your colleagues, students, classmates, and others who are interested in the world of art therapy and can benefit from receiving this free resource!

During 2011, Art Therapy Without Borders will be featuring members from the Advisory Council as an opportunity to learn more about their work and some of the art therapy initiatives they are involved in that speak to this community’s vision.  March’s spotlight includes Paul Lee Thiam Seng, MA:

(Paul) Lee Thiam Seng, MA is a Singapore born artist, art therapist, and consultant. Paul is the Founder of UniqArts and Technologies, currently in private practice and running workshops for institutions, group and individuals. Paul has experience with providing art therapy to individuals and groups with special needs, in the medical setting, and schools throughout Singapore. Paul is passionate about art therapy for enhancing wellness and health, as well as for positivity and happiness. He initiated the Positive+Happiness Art Therapy professional group on LinkedIn and implements this focus for corporate retreat programs, schools and institutions.

Tell readers a little about yourself and what your interests are in art therapy: Art is my passion. I am promoting a notion that prevention is better than cure. In addition, I believe in positive psychology as well and therefore, it is my interest to focus the use of art therapy to facilitate positive thinking and life styles.  To me, it is far more useful to build inner resources rather than trying to open psychological wounds without healing. When a person is in trouble or encountering life crisis, he or she will probably be in need of these internal resources to cope with this crisis and to become stronger after the crisis. Without this pool of mental strength, some people might suffer from mental breakdown and illnesses.  In addition, I am integrating art therapy into creativity training and corporate human resources development. By using art therapy to unleash creative talents of individuals and groups, it seems possible to heighten the unconscious level of human potential to improve quality of work and life.  My interest in art therapy also includes the capacity to develop inner creativity to its full potential because art connects to our creative intuition. Since art therapy provides a tangible product of creative self; the capacity for post therapy, reflection, change, transformation and growth is enormous.

What do you believe are important considerations or emerging issues for the international art therapy community to pay attention to? To me, the international art therapy community will flourish further with a recognized standard education system that covers an agreed fundamental in art therapy training. Currently, it seems to me there are different versions of art therapy in foundation and beliefs. Furthermore, this seems to be diversified into other sub categories (expressive art therapy, sand therapy, play therapy, music therapy, interactive drawing therapy, photo therapy, etc.). It is therefore confusing to the public and lacks cohesiveness among the art therapy profession. It is probably one of the reasons why art therapy can not be well defined as a profession independently.

Another aspect for the international art therapy community that might be useful includes more clinical research to collect evidence about how art therapy works. It seems to me that there are many art therapy works written in a case studies format.  In addition, also having clinical research with an international review board and a team with other health care professionals could be useful. This research could then be shared within the  profession or even to the public  to help increase understanding about how art therapy works.

What are some special art therapy projects you are working on in 2011? I am exploring funding and opportunities to do clinical art therapy research for cancer patients. There is strong evidence to suggest the potential of psychological healing through creative art therapy.  Further research will need a prolonged period of study, institutional funding, and scientific analysis. I am hoping such research to be carried out to aid women with breast cancer in their healing and recovery journey. Potentially, it could help define the scientific healing in art therapy for patients as a form of prevention and recovery from battling from their cancer disease.

How can people contact you or find out more about your work? I can be contacted by email: or at 65-63441670. My web site is

The Society for the Arts in Healthcare’s 22nd Annual International Conference, Advancing Patient-Centered Arts, hosted by Stanford Hospital and Clinics, will be held April 13-16, 2011 at the Hyatt Regency San Francisco Airport in Burlingame, California. Hosted by Stanford Hospitals and Clinics, this conference will give attendees the opportunity to explore model arts in healthcare programs and built environments, gain strategies to successfully position arts programs in healthcare institutions, and develop leadership and professional skills to excel in the field. Arts in healthcare professionals, students, supporters, and all who want to learn more about the field are encouraged to attend.

We’re excited about our involvement at this dynamic conference in April. Art Therapy Without Borders is an exhibitor at the event, so if you are attending the conference, please be sure to stop by our table! We’ll have information on ATWB and how to get involved in our social networks and community—and even some of our famous “domino” pins on hand for purchase as a donation towards ATWB’s efforts. During the conference, Board Members Gretchen Miller and Cathy Malchiodi will be leading a panel on “Combat Paper Project: Helping Soldiers Use Papermaking to Reclaim and Reconstruct Their Lives,” from 2:00 pm to 3:30 on Friday, April 15th. On Thursday, Cathy will be facilitating the lunch hour gathering for Medical Art Therapy from 11:30 am to 1 pm. Finally, on Saturday, April 16th, from 10:30 am to 11:30 am, Cathy will be leading a Bring it Forward Session, “Exploring Best Practices & Collaborations That Use the Arts for Social Transformation to Resolve Conflict, Curb Violence & Create Community.” Art and social action is one of our core values at ATWB, so it is exciting to have a platform to interact with others who are passionate about this topic.

PS: Don’t forget that Cathy and Gretchen are presenting a day long course on Trauma Informed Art Therapy on Tuesday, April 12th, 2011, at the Hyatt Hotel where the Society’s conference is being held. For more information and registration, visit our Events webpage here. You can also take a three-day workshop on PhotoTherapy with Judy Weiser on April 9th thru the 11th at the Hyatt Hotel; for more information, click here.

Don’t miss your opportunity to network and learn at the most comprehensive arts in healthcare event! Find a full schedule, registration information, and more here: ” Early bird registration ends on March 11th, 2011, so make your plans soon—see you there!

Art Therapy Without Borders is excited to present this short 5 minute film Planet Art Therapy Postmarks featuring the first 100 postcards we have received for our International Postcard Art Exchange.  Enjoy!

Spreading holiday cheer all around Planet Art Therapy!   Enjoy!

Planet Art Therapy: Postcard Art is Being Exchanged Everywhere!

This week in the US brings a time for thanks and gratitude with family & friends… As we gear up for this celebration, one of the many things we are thankful for includes the community, connection, and creativity that ATWB’s postcard art exchange is bringing to the international art therapy community.

We thank ATWB postcard art exchangers for being part of this project, sharing their art, stories, and work/studies….
We continue to be inspired, energized, and excited about postcards being made, sent, and received!

Check out a special ATWB e-news launched today to showcase all the postcard art and exchanging going on around Planet Art Therapy! Feel free to share with friends, colleagues, classmates, and others who might be interested!  Enjoy!

Our International Postcard Art Exchange officially started on November 1 and we have already received several postcards from art therapists and art therapy students around the world who are participating in the exchange! The goal of this collaborative art project is for art therapists and art therapy students living all over the world to create, share, and receive postcard art, as well as create community through learning more about the art therapy work and studies taking place in different regions and parts of the globe. Over 350 participants from 30+ countries are involved in this exciting global event! Postcards from across the USA, as well as the UK, Australia, and Ireland came in this week. Check them out below!

To learn more information about each postcard, view our web album for this exchange on Facebook.