Art Therapists on the Grid: Art Therapy Meets Social Media Conversations is a weekly interview series this summer featuring a variety of art therapists and how they use the power of the Internet and social media in relationship to sharing their work with others, professional development, nurturing creativity, cultivating community and more.
This week’s topic focuses on the value of community for art therapists and the role social media can play in strengthening a sense of belonging, decrease isolation, provide support, and educate others about art therapy. Chapter 4 of The Art Therapist’s Guide to Social Media is completely dedicated to exploring this subject. One of the categories that digital communities can focus on is related to geographic area and serving a specific location.
“Many professionally driven regional art therapy groups use social media to enhance their group’s capacity building, local efforts, and the group’s overall mission while joining art therapists together who share a mutual geographic locality. Many state art therapy chapters and academic programs have organized communities in the form of digital groups for its members, students, or alumni. An example of a growing community leveraging the power of social media to mobilize engagement, advocacy, support, and advance the art therapy profession in their area is Art Therapy Buffalo. This group of art therapists serving the Buffalo and Western New York areas use social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to not only promote art therapy, but bring art therapists together in these vicinities for professional connection, art-making, and exchanging of ideas, both on and offline.”
The group’s online presence inspired inviting one of the founders of Art Therapy Buffalo for a chat in this series to speak more about the beginnings of their community, how social media has been helpful, challenges encountered, and ways art therapists can learn from the group’s experiences and efforts.
Rachel Sikorski, LCAT, ATR-BC is a New York State Licensed Creative Arts Therapist and nationally registered board-certified art therapist. She earned her Master’s degree in Art Therapy from Nazareth College in Rochester, and her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Canisius College in Buffalo.
She currently maintains a full-time private practice in the heart of the city of Buffalo and is a founding member and webmaster of Art Therapy Buffalo, whose mission is to advocate for increased awareness and access to professional art therapy services in the Buffalo-Niagara communities of Western New York. The members of Art Therapy Buffalo gather monthly to make art for self-care, network, and plan for community education and advocacy activities. Rachel also serves as Social Media Marketing Secretary on the board of the Western New York Art Therapy Association (WNYATA).
Listen to our conversation here:
“We really felt this need to connect- who else is out there working in Buffalo that we don’t know… We shouldn’t be all disconnected from one another- we can band together. This will be good for the field, it will be good for each of us…who knows what we could do.” ~Rachel Sikorski, Art Therapy Buffalo
Learn more about Art Therapy Buffalo and connect to the community online here:
Other links & resources mentioned in our conversation:
- Hope and Fear: Using Art Therapy to Cope in Times of Transition Exhibit-Art therapists respond to the current economic-social-political climate, and how this has impacted them both personally and professionally, as they use art to help clients of all ages who may be struggling with hopelessness, fear, and anxiety as it relates to changes in leadership and policy, on a personal and collective level. On display until July 28 at The ¡Buen Vivir! Gallery for Contemporary Art, Buffalo, NY.
- The American Art Therapy Association
- Art Therapy Alliance
Many thanks to Rachel for this awesome chat! At the end of this series, another conversation is planned with Rachel and members of Art Therapy Buffalo to further our discussion on this topic–Stay connected for more about this… A new art therapist interview will go live next week!
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