The 2020 Art Therapy Symposium at Marywood University will explore the practice of museum-based art therapy and the technique of paper-making as narrative through the practice of art therapy. Museum-based art therapy is a community-based practice that utilizes the museum as a space to offer accessibility, educational opportunities, and therapeutic benefits to benefit the health and wellbeing of individuals from diverse socioeconomic, cultural, and ability backgrounds. Although the concept is not completely new, there are several therapists, museum educators, and museum administrators collaborating to develop programming and research studies to explore the therapeutic potential of the museum. Current literature has begun to document the benefits of museum-based art therapy in research studies and through the writing of two upcoming books publications to better disseminate the information to the public. As professionals working in the museum or in collaboration with the arts and culture, this information may enhance the practice of educators, therapists, administrators, and individuals who wish to contribute to the social and health of the community using non-pharmaceutical strategies.
The morning presentations will make connections between the interdisciplinary components required in collaborations among museum-based art therapy program design and implementation.
The program will begin with Dr. Ashley Hartman introducing the community-based practice of Museum-Based Art Therapy. The first presentation will provide an overview of what has been done in the field and what is currently of interest in the research literature. A summary of three current MBAT programs will be highlighted as well as Dr. Hartman’s research in this area. Dr. Christa Irwin will contribute by adding how the expertise of art historians may assist and play a role in museum-based art therapy processes.
Dr. Cullen will present the findings of her published research study and report on the
current work she is completing on the topic of creative aging. The published study, funded by
the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and the Pennsylvania Department of Aging, measured the
effect that an artist in residence program (conducted by state-vetted professional teaching artists)
had on self-reported loneliness in older adults. The project will highlight the current trend in working with populations of ageing populations with memory and cognitive issues. This research project wills serve as a way to explain the purpose of museum-based collaborations as it meets the needs of specific populations in the community, decreasing the feelings of loneliness and
participation in a program conducted by professional artists.
Dr. Annie McFarland will then present the art therapy experiential process of papermaking and how this process lends well to the goals and objectives art therapists may use in their practice during art therapy sessions in the museum that highlight on the narrative process to explore identity issues, family issues, grief and loss, memory recall or reminiscence work.
The afternoon sessions will include three experientials. The first will focus creating response art after interacting with objects and artworks. The second art experiential will include the use of handmade paper to explore the narrative process in art therapy, using poetry gems and book-making to highlight the contemplative experiences in the gallery. Finally, the culminating piece will incorporate the handmade paper with a reflective writing experience to make connections between one’s perceptions, memories, and meanings associated with the gallery works. Participants will have the opportunity to contribute to a large-scale collaborative experiential as they leave the session.