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NorCATA Fall Workshop

  • 11/21/2021
  • 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM



NorCATA Fall Workshop 

Sunday, November 21st 2021

Co-Creating Anti-Racist Community

Sunday, November 21st


Jen Bloomer

Amber Simmons, MFT

Stephanie Garma Balón, MA, AMFT

No seat limit!

Accommodations Available


In this workshop we will explore five ways to use the arts for anti-racist introspection and community change. We'll share stories and examples of those who are doing this transformative work in the world. Time will be given to using the arts to reflect on our own journeys and to connect and share in small affinity groups. We will also engage in large group discussions focused on widespread change and building ongoing community.

Learning Objectives

1. Describe five (5) reasons the arts effectively support anti-racist work for individuals and groups.

2. Describe five (5) ways to use the arts to co-create anti-racist community.

3. List five (5) tangible next steps for continued action.

Art Materials Needed

Paper, pen, markers, paint, collage, (or any preferred art-making materials).

Presenter Bio

Jen Bloomer is an artist, facilitator, mama, and the founder of Radici Studios in San Francisco. For the past two decades, she has painted and taught art in California, Colorado, Guatemala, Kenya, Italy, Eritrea, Thailand, and India. Jen has a BA in Latin American Studies, a Post Baccalaureate Certificate in Painting, and a Masters Degree in Expressive Arts Therapy. She has created art with people aged 1 to 81 giving space for them to find their unique creative voice in the world through the arts. Jen’s own activist art can be seen in local murals, at marches for social justice around the country, and across social media. Her work has been shown internationally by Amplifier Art, and is included in the Library of Congress archive. Jen is a white woman married to an Eritrean/Italian man with whom she is raising two mixed race children. She believes that the intersection of creativity, connection, and community holds the answer to our personal and collective healing.

Amber Simmons, MFT, is a Black American mom, wife, spoken word artist, and therapist from Oakland, CA. Amber received her Bachelor of Arts (BA) in Communications and Masters of Arts (MA) Degree in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in Expressive Arts Therapy. She has worked in the mental health field for over 10 years and is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. Amber is the co-owner of Simmons&Simmons Wellness Center. Simmons&Simmons Wellness Center strives to support healing through various therapeutic and holistic approaches because they believe that every person is on a different life journey. Through the wellness center, Amber strives to make mental health services more readily available to those that need it, especially for folks from marginalized communities. Amber has had many opportunities to witness health through art modalities with children, families, adults, and in group settings. Amber believes in using the arts as a processing tool to break down barriers, develop understanding, gain clarity, and find meaning in one's life.

Stephanie Garma Balón, MA, AMFT (she/her) is a second-generation Pinay-American, & proud Mama - born in SF, raised in Daly City/SF (Ohlone Land), and of Ilokano & Visayan decent. As an Expressive Arts Therapist at StarVista in Northern San Mateo County (SMC) providing individual and group therapy to youth, parents, and families, Stephanie leans on her belief in the transformative healing power of the arts. Her heartwork and hustle includes over 20 years of experience in health & human services namely a community mental health advocacy background addressing health inequities amongst hxstorically marginalized populations. As co-chair of the Filipino Mental Health Initiative of SMC, she co-founded the first social enterprise cultural center/cafe in North SMC (anticipated to break ground in 2022) that aims to increase access to culturally responsive mental health support and provide an intergenerationally engagin, healg & creative, gathering space for the Filipina/o/x community.

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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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