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Ari-Asha Castalia

Ari-Asha Castalia, LMFT, ATR

Ari-Asha is a native Midwesterner who grew up in rural Wisconsin. Both her parents came from large farming families. Her paternal grandparents were immigrants (Polanand French-Canadian) and her maternal grandparents were first generation Americans (Germany and Ireland). After a short career as a High School English teacher, she spen30 years as an American Sign Language Interpreter, straddling Wisconsin and California, working in post-secondary education and community settings. Additionally, she was an Interpreter Educator and an Interpreter Coordinator.

Somewhere along the line, Ari-Asha found herself considering a third act on her career path, and after considering Acupuncture and Art Therapy, chose to pursue her Masters Degree at NDNU, graduating in 2010. She worked in an Intensive Outpatient Clinic providing Art Therapy to individuals living with Chronic Pain. Once licensed, she began a private practice in San Mateo, where she sees a balance of older adolescents, adults and couples. She’ll be transitioning her practice to SF over the next year.

On a personal note, Ari-Asha has been in a long term committed relationship for 26 years, getting married to the same woman three times in an effort to keep it legal! She has been a vegetarian and sometimes vegan since Freshman year in college, and loves to cook. Boxing, battle roping, and improving her ball handling skills, along with Pilates and swimming, are her go-to workouts. She and her partner love visiting National Parks and attending Ranger Talks and guided hikes. They love using field guides to identify fauna and flora.

She’s been fortunate that the pandemic has been rich with art making of all sorts, in part inspired by a women’s group that meets every other Wednesday to make art in virtual community. Ari-Asha works primary in multi-media, watercolor and 3D assemblage, has recently discovered gel plate printing, rediscovered embroidery (reimagined on paper this time), and has a particular love for wrapping and collage. As a NorCATA Regional Rep, she has facilitated a couple of field trips and coordinated a mail art exchange.

Artist Statements:

  • Image 1: My piece for the second Mission Kiss Art Show.
  • Image 2: From our annual valentines card-making party
  • Images 3-4: Mixed media mail art (gel plate mono prints, collage, stencils, watercolor, Zen-tangles)
  • Image 5: Folio from a file folder, folded, collaged, sewn. 
  • Image 6: Collaged pamphlet with hand carved stamp. 
  • Image 7: Paper clay hearts I “abandoned” in my neighborhood during the pandemic for folks to find.

Selected Works:


Toni Morley facilitated Memories in the Making, an art group specifically with Alzheimer’s Association.  

Peggy Gulshen has founded multiple Art Therapy programs in California which support bereavement for children and cancer patients.

Shan Ru Lin works in Chicago at a homeless service agency for women
Bruce Moon is an Honorary Life Member of the American Art Therapy Association; an art therapist, educator, artist, author, and a singer/songwriter
Melissa Diaz work features transitional objects and touch reflecting Diaz's interest in crystal healing energy
Melissa Alvey's multicultural heritage and experiences abroad influenced her work with communities that have experienced violent conflict
Nancy MacGregor works with the evolving themes and imagery of pain, growth, and healing, as well as their integration

NorCATA's feature: ​"Art Therapists Making Things Happen", was  envisioned by Robin Valicenti, and is currently curated by Abby Zimberg

 Please contact Abby if you know of a Northern Californian Art Therapist whose art and projects deserve mention in this space.

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San Francisco, CA  94146-0661 USA


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NorCATA is approved by the Internal Revenue Services as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that promotes the therapeutic use of art throughout Northern California, public awareness of art therapy, professional development through educational events, workshops, conferences, and more.  All donations are tax deductible to the full extent provided by law.

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