Education-Gretchen obtained a Bachelor of Science in Art Therapy from Bowling Green State University (BGSU) and received her Master of Arts in Art Therapy from Ursuline College. During her time at BGSU, Gretchen was the recipient of The School of Art’s James W. Strong Community Service Award, in which she was given funding to develop and implement a community-based arts program for youth. Gretchen was also the recipient for Outstanding Art Therapy Student awarded by BGSU’s College of Health and Human Services. In graduate school, Gretchen was the award recipient for Exceptional Creativity and Achievement in Thesis Research from Ursuline College’s Master of Arts in Art Therapy Program. In 2011, Gretchen was the recipient of Ursuline College’s Art Therapy and Counseling Program Service Award for Promoting the Field of Art Therapy and Building Community, as well as received an Award of Commendation for Student Mentoring and Supervision.
Professional Practice- Gretchen has worked extensively with children and adolescents, including starting her art therapy career as the Founder and Art Therapy Program Coordinator (1995-2002) of a residential treatment partial hospitalization art therapy program at The Cleveland Christian Home, as well as developed and implemented a clinical art therapy program for Applewood Centers, Inc., within a residential treatment program for adolescent females from 2002-2004. Her work in residential treatment motivated her to focus more in the area of childhood trauma and loss. Since 2004 this has often included providing art therapy to grieving children and adolescents who have experienced a death of a loved one, children and teens from homes of domestic violence, and families, adults transitioning out of homelessness. Gretchen’s work with trauma intervention and loss inspired her to become an an Advanced Certified Trauma Practitioner (ACTP) and Trainer through The National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children (TLC). In 2011 Gretchen was the recipient of TLC’s Consultant Supervisor of the Year Award. Gretchen is part of Akron Children’s Hospital Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient team facilitating art therapy group work with adolescents. News articles about Gretchen’s work includes this 2012 Plain Dealer employment feature and this 2015 interview with The Huffingtion Post.
Presentations & Workshops- Gretchen has presented regionally and nationally on the application of art therapy, is a guest lecturer, thesis reader, and adjunct professor at Ursuline College‘s Master of Arts in Art Therapy & Counseling Program. Currently at Ursuline College, Gretchen teaches the program’s Art Therapy Studio course and provides in-class ATR supervision for Internship students. She also currently teaches for The National Institute for Trauma and Loss in Children as an Online Instructor about group interventions and strategies for traumatized children and adolescents. Gretchen has also been a visiting faculty for Mount Mary University‘s Master of Science Art Therapy Program (2007, 2013), 2012 Fall Speaker for Southern Illinois University Edwardsville‘s Student Art Therapy Association Conference and invited Keynote in 2015 for The New Jersey Art Therapy Association. Gretchen also currently collaborates with Peace Paper, a project that facilitates transformation, healing, and social action through papermaking, which included presenting in 2012 for the Kansas Art Therapy Association, Buckeye Art Therapy Association, and Florida State University communities.
Community Organizing and Social Media- Gretchen has an interest in social media and computer technology, which includes creating, designing, and managing various websites, forums, and blogging related to art therapy, creativity, e-networking, and community organizing for art therapists. In 2008, she founded The Art Therapy Alliance, an on-line professional network that embraces social media and connection to promote art therapy, the work of art therapists, and build community. Gretchen also created the online community 6 Degrees of Creativity in 2011 that cultivates creative goodness through artmaking, collaboration, and connection. During 2013, Gretchen joined the American Art Therapy Association’s Social Media Committee, serving as Content Creator for the Association’s Facebook page. In 2014 Gretchen also joined TLC’s Blogging Team as a Guest Contributor.
Professional Affiliations- Gretchen is a member of Ohio’s Buckeye Art Therapy Association (BATA) and is a Past President (2007-2010) of this non-profit professional organization. During these four years, Gretchen led a 12 member board and membership of 200 art therapists, students, and other interested professionals who are dedicated to the advancement of the practice of art therapy in Ohio. She has also served as BATA’s Publications Committee Chair (2005 & 2006), which included being the Editor of BATA’s quarterly newsletter, The Palette. In 2019, Gretchen received the BATA’s Honorary Life Membership Award. Gretchen has also been active within the American Art Therapy Association (AATA), serving as Web Editor of AATA’s official website from 2005-2008 and as the Association’s Program Chair for the 40th Anniversary Conference in 2009. Her past AATA committee work has also included Student Subcommittee Chair (1997-1999), Education Committee (1999-2002), Web Editorial Committee (2002-2003), Publications Committee (2005-2006), Governmental Affairs Committee (2007-2008) and AATA’s Journal Advisory Board (2007-2009). Gretchen served on AATA’s Social Media Committee (2013-2016) and in 2016 received a Presidential Recognition Award from the Association for her service as a content creator. She currently is serving her second term on the AATA’s Board of Directors.
Creative Practice- Gretchen enjoys finding inspiration, creating positive energy, and discovering transformation by working in mixed media, collage, altered art, art journaling, as well as organizing global art exchanges and creative collaborations. Gretchen is honored to be part of the 21 SECRETS Art Journaling Workshop Teaching Collective, as well as an invited teacher for 2015 and 2016’s holistic visual journaling workshop, Spectrum. You can learn more about Gretchen’s art, projects, and creative interests on her blog Creativity in Motion.