Art therapy remains a lesser known mental health treatment modality in the clinical, legislative and public domains of Northern California. NorCATA would like to increase our prominence and standing through our California Art Therapy CAT3-ACELA initiative project: California Art Therapy Advocacy in three realms; Community outreach (public and professional), Education and Legislative Action/Initiative. We believe outreach and education will expand opportunities for art therapists, increase legislative opportunities for public policy action and strengthen our social, economic and cultural capital within the state of California.
NorCATA has identified 4 goals to launch our CAT3-ACELA initiative project in 2018. 1. Children’s “Art Therapy at the State Capitol” (CAT@SC) project uniting children with their communities and district legislators through art therapy and exhibition during SAMHSA’s 2018 Children’s Mental Health Day followed by legislative office visits while exhibit is up. 2. Purchase of brochures and a banner for advocacy (during the month of CAT@SC exhibition) 3. Participation in community events (CAT@SC) and engage in advocacy with legislators. 4. Include Americans for the Arts, California Coalition for Mental Health (CCMH)
The CAT@SC project will help launch CAT3-ACELA. The CAT@SC offers K-12 students the opportunity to make art with an art therapist and express their thoughts and feelings about mental health awareness. The issues of stigma, hope and strength may serve as guideposts to the content of their art. Upon completion of the artwork, students are connected with their state legislators and invited to exhibit their work for two weeks in the Children’s Gallery at the CA State Capitol during Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day, 2018. The students visit the gallery to view their art and meet with their state representative to complete the connection between art therapy, community and advocacy within legislature. Children directly experience how visual and verbal expression, community involvement and legislative advocacy can validate their experience and contribute toward legislative support for mental health concerns. CAT@SC brings art therapy to diverse, often underserved CA school districts communities. The program unites, students, community, CA legislators, art therapy and the general public during the exhibition. The proposed annual CAT@SC keeps art therapy relevant for those who experience and witness the exhibit. We plan to obtain local media/press coverage for this project and seek support from the Americans for the Arts and CCMH during this event which will connect CA art therapy with the greater mental health community and the greater CA arts community. We believe this project will expand opportunities for art therapists and students, increase legislative opportunities for public policy action and strengthen our social, economic and cultural capital within the state of California. It is critical for marginalized groups such as children with mental health challenges to use nurturing and creative platforms to gain support for art therapy expression and the management and public awareness of their mental health concerns. It is important to educate our youth about legislative advocacy, art therapy and community support to provide a lifelong skill set for political and community engagement with art therapy and to bolster mental health advocacy. Art therapy needs to be perceived as a viable mental health treatment modality in the CA legislature and greater community.
The goals of NorCATA’s CAT3-ACELA/CAT@AC program initiative strongly align with AATA’s GAC 2014-2019 strategic plan. Our program will provide advocacy for art therapy and children’s mental health awareness in the CA legislature to ensure that art therapy is recognized as a credentialed professionArt Therapy advocacy and the development of relationships between NorCATA and state legislators will help build a support base for potential art therapy licensure legislation in CA.. In addition, building relationships with CA legislators will help NorCATA access legislators and address legislative issues that arise and have a direct or indirect impact on the profession, practice and sustainability of art therapy. Formed alliances with mental health and arts advocacy groups will strengthen our support base and social capital when preparing legislation for art therapy licensure or other relevant concerns that have an impact on the profession of art therapy.
In an effort to connect with the greater arts, psychotherapy and overall mental health community, NorCATA would like to join the CA chapter of the American’s for the Arts and the CA Coalition for Mental Health (CCMH). NorCATA plans to train members in effective lobbying skills to prepare them for an Art Therapy Advocacy Day at the state capitol while the CAT@SC is hung. During the first month of 2018, NorCATA purchased an advocacy and education table at the Sacramento Women’s March, 2018. We also purchased professional business cards and 500 tri-fold flyers for mental health advocacy functions in Sacramento, San Francisco, Oakland. NorCATA has engaged in prior advocacy activity and supported CAT@SC in 2013, 2014, 2017 and 2018 (currently under development). The 2013 and 2014 projects were launched at the Bret Harte Middle School in Oakland, CA. Art therapists worked with students one day a week for 5 weeks to create artwork symbolic of positive mental health and role models/heroes. Assemblyman Rob Bonta, CA district 18, offered support and sent a letter to the students, parents and the community praising the art therapy project. The artwork was exhibited in the California State Capitol Children’s Art Gallery, the Oakland California State Office Building, and in an Oakland gallery. Neither NorCATA nor the school were able to afford transportation for the students to attend the State Capitol exhibit. The students did see their artwork on exhibition in Oakland. Students reported feelings of empowerment, courage, pride/joy along with an enhanced awareness of advocacy and access to government officials and art therapy. Parents, teachers, school administrators, and legislators reported feelings of pride for the young constituents along with a greater awareness of the power of art therapy. In 2017, the CAT@SC project supported students from New Directions School in Santa Rosa, CA. Art therapists asked the students to visually explore and express the question, “What is it like to live with mental health issues as an adolescent?”. NorCATA raised $1,400 ( Network For Good campaign) to sponsor transportation and art materials. The students were bussed to the State Capitol to see their show “Collaborative Voices”. They met Assemblyman Marc Levine, CA district 10, and discussed their mental health concerns. Mr. Levine wrote a letter in support of CAT@SC. The program enriched dialogue about mental health concerns, advocated for art therapy, and connected students with art therapy, local government and the community to raise awareness of art therapy and the mental health challenges young people experience. The 2018 project is currently under development and set for exhibition during the 2018 Chilren’s Mental Health Day.
NorCATA plans to determine program efficacy when the participants offer reviews and insights in the form of a post-project survey detailing the goals of the project. NorCATA has experience in survey development. CAT@SC project efficacy will be seen in stronger relationships and alliances between NorCATA and our elected officials. Efficacy will be measured by increased awareness, understanding and support of art therapy within our community and the state legislature. Efficacy will be supported by documented legislative advocacy visits, active monitoring of relevant bills which may affect the profession of art therapy, documentation of stakeholder support, ease of access to legislators and favorable media coverage. The students who participated in these projects were able to share how the experience enriched their education and awareness of art therapy, mental health. and how California government works with respect to constituent involvement in health care, education and community issues. We can measure success by following up with an evaluation.
NorCATA is also interested in beginning licensure activity in 2018. The CA Board of Behavioral Health Sciences recently suggested we undertake this effort based on their many applications from out of state board certified art therapists who are denied licensure when they apply. This is an initiative NorCATA would like to coordinate with SoCalATA if they agree to support the licensure effort.
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.
NorCATA does not and shall not discriminate, or allow discrimination against any person because of race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion or creed, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, marital status, military status, physical disability, medical condition, or special needs, in any of its activities or operations. Following the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), NorCATA is committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for everyone.