Fall 2022 Newsletter


Jahna Rae Church

acrylic on canvas

24" x 24"

Community Letter

Dear Colorado Art Therapy Association,

We are coming upon a time of transition and new beginnings together!

Following the Annual Art Show, our theme for 2023 is: Voices, encouraging expression, integration, listening, and community. Right now, too many people are going unheard whether stifled or ignored, there are those who abuse their power to strip away human rights, using their voice to bring harm. So in this community, we want to uplift the voices that are going unheard. One of the ways, we want to uplift voices is to share, show, and create art, provide resources, and strengthen our connection with our communities!

With that said, next year we are creating offerings to the art therapy community in relationship with Colorado artists. Being art therapists and students are not the only parts of us, there is the artist self in addition to many other parts and roles we uphold and live by. Let's make some space and give time to those voices. 

If there is anyone whose voice you want to uplift, send us the information so we can honor and share their voice.


Jacenta L. Irlanda

Art Therapist in the Spotlight

Meet Kerry Jessup


Jessup is art therapist with Marcus Institute for Brain Health at The University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus, where she conducts art therapy research with colleagues in art therapy, neurology, and speech-language pathology. Jessup serves as a dedicated Colorado Art Therapy Association board member, spearheading our Peer Consultation program. Learn more about her amazing work by clicking the link below.

Read the Jessup Interview here.

With Earth in Hand: How Boulder Artist,

Caroline Douglas, Healed her Traumatic Brain Injury

Using Clay


Caroline Douglas, presenter, teacher, healing artist

Vice President, Lara K. Rutledge, MA, LPCC, ATR-P, EXAT-C

Eight years after an accident that left her with a traumatic brain injury, Boulder ceramicist, Caroline Douglas, had fully recovered. 

Through the daily practice of touching and shaping a ball of clay, Douglas regained her ability to use her brain fully.

With clay, she expressed images of her near death experience as well as daily celebrations of her rehabilitation journey. 

In the beginning, poking holes in the ball of clay for 30-minutes was quite the physical challenge and she often become exhausted for an entire day. 

Over time, Douglas was able to spend more time with the clay and began to regain awareness of her right and left hand. 

According to Douglas, “the act of working the clay with both hands got my synapses going again" and, "holding earth in my hands helped me reconnect to life around me.” 

In time, mages began to form in the clay. Douglas said, “I couldn’t think about what I was making, I just had to do it.”

From poking the clay with a pencil to translating her dreams into physical reality, she created images of figures with animals, masks, sharp teeth and even death. Douglas commented, "the process of letting whatever needed to come, helped me develop acceptance around my experience, it healed me.” 

Years after the accident, Douglas was able to share her visual diary with the public in a compilation on view at Boulder Public Library. It was here that the broad community began to interact with her healing process and journey. Douglas commented, "when I saw the impact that my art journey had on others, I realized that I could share my process to help others heal." Now, Douglas offers presentations, workshops and events throughout the year, with her most recent workshop, “Slow Clay for Fast Times" in Mendocino, California. She says, "I am not only teaching techniques, I am teaching about healing."

To learn more about the work of Caroline Douglas, please visit: https://www.carolinedouglas.com.

As we develop our work as art therapists, learning from artists, like Douglas, about their process and healing journey is invaluable. Be on the lookout for an upcoming presentation by Douglas in 2023 designed just for Colorado Art Therapy Association members. 

Tail of Original Kindness

Caroline Douglas

Barn Animals, the Brain and Art Therapy


Lindsay Ritscher, LPC, ATR-P

Christine Ratcliffe, MA, LPCC, ATR-P

Jessica Paola Pfeiffer, PsyD, LCSW

What do barn animals, the brain and art therapy have in common? Local therapeutic farm program, Intricate Roots, engages in non-verbal therapy modalities, like art therapy, to support children and families to foster self-expression and to heal from trauma, grief and major life experiences. Interaction with animals enrich art therapy sessions, helping children and families to engage the senses, while learning to interact with the barn animals. 

At the heart of the art therapy program at Intricate Roots, therapists utilize a neurodevelopmental processes, that focus on bottom-up sensory regulation and use art therapy to encourage organization of lower parts of the brain, regulating the stress response system and building a foundation for growth. Through patterned, repetitive, rhythmic, sensory input found in art processes, the brain is able to regulate the stress response system and begin to build new neural pathways. Art therapy at the farm often helps children and families to find connection between their home and community, with art uncovering what is most important in a child and families’ life.

During a typical art therapy session, it is common for therapists to walk the farm with children and families, helping them to engage all the senses, to notice the animals’ body language and to have open conversations about what the animals need or what they are trying to communicate. Often, children and families will utilize natural art materials, making art alongside the animals. This offers a lot of opportunity for noticing and exploring sensory experiences. 

The farm is a special place. All of the animals have come to live there, because they could not stay in their original home for one reason or another. Their stories can be helpful metaphors for kids who are in foster care or are processing thoughts and feelings about adoption. Interacting with the animals help clients reflect on their own experiences. Engaging with art materials can deepen that reflection or offer opportunities for further symbolic expression.

Intricate Roots offers the Barn Buddies program, where children are able to partner with animals on the farm: Gary (the alpaca), Felix (the goat), Pepsi (the mini-donkey), or Daisy (the mini-horse) and email back and forth about social and emotional topics. This program is currently targeted for Pre-K through 5th grade students, but is eligible for older students as well. Teachers can work with Barn Buddies to receive fun emails, which include photos and videos of the animals that can be shared in class. If you are a teacher who is interested in this program, please email: [email protected].

Fall farm activities include partnering with Jefferson County Open Space, offering a goat and burro patrol, dressage IEA, 4-Hers picking new animals for the year, Pony Club and many services activities.

To learn more, please consider visiting the farm website at: www.thecommunityfarm.com or Intricate Roots website at: www.intricateroots.com.

Mental Health News

A note from American Art Therapy Association:

We all know the three-digit number to call if you or someone else needs help due to an injury or an immediate danger. But until now, it wasn’t clear who we should call if an emergency isn’t physical. On July 16, the national 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline was launched, making it easier to access mental health crisis services. Those experiencing any mental health distress can simply call or text 9-8-8 to connect with a trained crisis worker providing free and confidential support. The hotline offers help 24/7, 7 days a week, and has a network of over 200 state and local call centers.

The new three-digit dialing code has been in the works since 2020, with the passage of the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act. While the National Suicide and Prevention Hotline’s 1-800-273-TALK code was launched in 2005 by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and Vibrant Emotional Health, it received little funding. 1-800-273-TALK may still be used, but 988 serves as a more accessible way to reach help for people experiencing suicidal thoughts or any kind of mental distress. Many mental health advocates and lawmakers see 988 as an advance for the mental health care system. The news comes in addition to the Biden administration allotting $432 million towards ramping up mental health crisis centers and services

Mental health has continued to get worse since the Covid-19 pandemic, and suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for 46,000 deaths in 2020 (the rate is highest for American Indians). By offering free and confidential support, 988 makes mental health care more accessible, affordable, and less stigmatized—which is especially important for marginalized communities around the country. Already, there has been a surge of calls after the launch.

The American Art Therapy Association sees the introduction of the 988 hotline as an important step in addressing America’s mental health crisis. But to keep up with the demands, we urge state and federal lawmakers to fully fund the 988 hotline call centers and resources—and continue to invest in mental health services to ensure everyone gets the help they deserve.


988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline 

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Upcoming Art Therapy Events

Annual Art Show

A note from our Art Show/Education Co-Chairs:

Meggan Tigges, MS, LPC, ATR

Kristine Tarmann, MA, LPCC, ATR-P


Calling all artists and art therapists to participate in our Annual Art Show!

This year's theme (drum roll, please...): Voices!

Make your VOICE heard. Connect with the community in this inclusive art show. All members of the community are welcome to create an image of the power of your voice. Consider the following:

What would your voice say?

What would it embody?

What impact does it have?

Submit entries by Saturday, September 24th to: [email protected]

Submission Details:

Limit 1 entry per artist

All types of artwork will be considered for display

Size/Space Restrictions for In-Person Gallery:

Artwork should not exceed 16x20", due to limited space

Both 2D and 3D pieces will be accepted

To Submit:

JPEG and TIFF files are preferred for file submission

Files may either be direct scans or photographs

videos, photo series considered

*When submitting your artwork, please include:






This year, we will NOT be charging an entry fee. Donations are welcome and encouraged for submissions. Your donation will go towards Colorado Art Therapy Association to continue spreading awareness and access to art therapy in the community!

Return to the Artist Workshop Series 2023

Throughout the years, Colorado Art Therapy Association has largely relied on art therapists to help and support the art therapist community. During a time of burnout and a high need for therapists, we decided to extend our relationship with the Colorado artist community.

Through this work, we have come to learn the benefits of collaborating with artists to develop our own artist's identity! We feel it is so important to nourish our artist's identity outside of professional endeavors and service.

We are thrilled to announce that we have connected with Colorado artists to develop a workshop series dedicated to supporting the artist identity in art therapists. These workshops are for the art therapy community to nourish the artist within the art therapist.

Keep an eye out for announcements and registrations for next year's upcoming workshops! In the meantime, please feel free to check out some of the artists work at the links below:

R Alan Brooks

Gerry Mulowayi

Juannean Young

Jenny Goring


9:00am - opening & introductions

9:30am - restART Studio with Amanda Holst

10:00am - LGBTQ+ Presentation 

with Victoria Giles-Vazquez from Envision:YOU

11:30am- personal art-making & processing time


1:00pm - swag & art giveaway

1:15pm - Inkblot Method 

with Kerry Jessup & Gayla Elliott

4:00pm - closing & clean up

Colorado Art Therapy Association Annual Member Meeting

- Register here & pay here. 

American Art Therapy Association 53rd Annual Conference - Register here.

Colorado Art Events

Denver Art Museum Presents: Mindful Looking


Mindful Looking invites you to slow down and spend time with a single work of art from the Denver Art Museum. Discover overlooked details, pose questions, and explore ideas as we linger, look and connect with art and each other. This is a program that happens every third Tuesday of the month and alternates between onsite and online.

Click here for more information.

Arvada Center Presents: One Sheet Show 

A blank page, a blank canvas, a blank slate–widely-used idioms for limitless possibilities. For the exhibition series One Sheet, we invited over 60 Colorado artists to start with the same blank building block and create a new artwork.

By highlighting the creativity, diversity, and range of processes and concepts that are derived from a simple sheet material, One Sheet showcases the limitlessness of the blank sheet and of the creative mind. On view September 15th-November 13th.

Click here for more information.

Meet Cover Artist, Jahna Rae Church



Jahna Rae Church is a Multidisciplinary artist, Product/UX Designer, and emerging Muralist in Denver, Colorado.

Diversity, spirituality, matriarchal representation, and her black heritage deeply inspire her art and ever-changing style and approach. Rae believes art is a great method for self-expression and self-awareness, but that it also crosses all divides; social, cultural, and political.

The Colorado Art Therapy Association had the opportunity to interview Jahna about how the creative process has supported her life.

The Pour

acrylic on canvas

24" x 48"

Song 32

acrylic on canvas

30"x 40"

What has art taught you about your life and who you are?

"Art has taught me that I'm allowed to express my feelings and that they are valid and worthy of being heard. I've found out through my art that spirituality has been a big part of my life and I didn't even realize it until recently. I've learned I have a message that brings people closer together and for me, that's incredibly healing."

Why do you create art?

"I create art not only for the reasons listed above, but simply because it's a part of who I am and I enjoy it. I choose to express myself through creativity. Everybody has their own way of processing, healing and understanding themselves, and art just happens to me mine."

How has art been supportive to you through a challenge?

"Art has supported me in challenges because it acts as an outlet for whatever I'm feeling. Sometimes it's a method of turning off my brain and I'm able to relax and stay present. It's also helped me convey things that I otherwise couldn't with words."

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