The 34th Annual Kansas Art Therapy Association Conference starts tomorrow and runs through Saturday at the Emporia Arts Council, 815 Commercial St. The conference aims to empower veterans and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder survivors.
“This year, the conference focuses on ‘Art as a Social Action’ and ‘Paper Making as Trauma Therapy,’” said Jessica Stallings, assistant professor of art therapy.
An art show featuring the work of veterans with PTSD will be held at JavaCat-5, 608 Commercial St., before the conference. The opening reception is from 6-7 p.m. on Friday and is free and open to the public. The conference will begin at 7:30 p.m. that same night with an hour and a half presentation.
Margaret Mahan, who has a bachelor’s degree in English literature, Gretchen Miller, who has a bachelor’s degree in art therapy and is a certified art therapist, and Drew Matott, who has a master’s degree in book and paper arts and a bachelor’s degree in print making, will present on Friday.
Mahan, Miller and Matott are all members of the Peace Paper Project, which “works to empower PTSD survivors by introducing collaborative art processes that foster positive forward thinking, enhanced communication and peaceful reconciliation,” Stallings said.
“Through hand papermaking, writing, book and printmaking activities, we work together to transform significant articles of clothing into works of art that broadcast personal stories, mutual understanding and healing,” Peace Paper Project’s website states.
Mahan will teach a bookbinding and creative writing workshop, and Miller and Matott will teach a paper making workshop on Saturday.
Mahan said the creative writing exercise will exemplify “how Peace Paper activates the journals.”
Stallings also said that art therapy in Kansas has recently taken some hits due to cuts to state art and mental health programs, but she remains optimistic for the future of art therapy programs in Kansas.
“ESU has recently added a dual curriculum to the master’s program, so art therapists can be licensed,” Stallings said.
The Kansas Art Therapy Association will attend the TEDx conference in Overland Park on Oct. 17. The TEDx license the association recently acquired allows them to present at the conference annually.
Registration for Friday night’s presentation is $15 for students and $25 for non-students. Registration for the Saturday workshops at Emporia Arts Council will be $40 for students and $100 for non-students, with art supplies and lunch provided. The workshops run from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. with a break for lunch and a meeting from 11:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
“Pre-registration is preferred, due to only 20 seats being available for each workshop, but registration on Friday and Saturday will be accepted,” Stallings said.
Further information and registration forms can be found at Kansasarttherapy.org, or by contacting Stallings at email@example.com, or at 341-5810.