The Art Therapy Access Program is designed to provide a supportive and creative environment for the participants to develop and explore their personal narratives through art-making and gallery discussions.
Art therapy is defined by the American Art Therapy Association as a mental health profession in which clients, facilitated by a masters-level art therapist, use art media, the creative process, and the resulting artwork to explore their feelings, reconcile emotional conflicts, foster self-awareness, manage behavior and addictions, develop social skills, improve reality orientation, reduce anxiety, and increase self-esteem.
The Art Therapy Access Program at the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art partners with area organizations to provide a multi-visit outreach program that includes art-making sessions with a registered art therapist, museum tours, family/caregiver tours, and an exhibition of the resulting artwork. Partnerships have included organizations such as the Memphis VA Medical Center, Shelby County Relative Caregiver Program, Shelby County School’s Day Treatment Program, Tennessee Baptist Children’s Home, and Youth Villages.
The museum received an ArtWorks grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to expand the program in 2013, and to offer resources to other institutions that might be considering implementing such programs.