Public Statement from NMATA Board March 2019
NMATA would like to respond currently to the ongoing concerns, involving Second Lady Pence’s choice to make art therapy her signature cause and AATA’s choice not to reject her advocacy. With the AATA as our parent organization, NMATA is obliged to accept this decision. We understand that these are two separate entities and we value our credentials. The New Mexico Art Therapy Association has many hopes and goals to serve our community here in New Mexico. We are choosing to focus on guiding Pence’s initiative with appropriate information about the field of Art Therapy. While doing so, we intend to create an inclusive environment, promoting social activism and public advocacy for the populations we serve.
We realize the recent turmoil of decisions made within AATA, has affected art therapists across the country. We are here to support you. Amidst the controversy with AATA and Karen Pence, we would like to offer honesty and transparency in how we operate in this community. We are choosing to ride above this wave of polarization and divisiveness in our field. It is our intention to stand for what we are for, rather than what we are against, and to follow the feminine principle of embracing instead of dividing. Spiritual teacher, Byron Katie writes, “Defense is an act of war”.
We formally state here that the NMATA as an organization does not believe the decision, to guide the public information given by Pence, means that the AATA nor the NMATA nor the profession of Art Therapy are in any way aligned with Pence’s politics. We are not a political organization. We are a service industry that serves the most marginalized sects of our communities. We chose to use this situation as motivation for the NMATA and our membership to engage in social action to honor underserved populations. We will continue to use this as a call to action. We invite you to become involved in representing and educating the public about the Identity of Art Therapy as defined by our vision and mission below.
As an organization, we do not agree with the discriminatory actions Mrs. Pence has been displaying. Nor do we agree with her inaction in correcting those around her when she was perceived as an art therapist. She is not an art therapist. We believe it is our duty to stand together and advocate for our field, correcting public mistaken perceptions of our field and sharing the truth about what art therapy actually is and can be. We believe everyone is equal and has a right to free speech and expression. We support and honor everyone’s voice and will maintain the integrity of our field through our united voices. Now, more than ever we need to come together.
We want to be clear that contributions NMATA raises through membership fees, CEC courses, and donations is used to promote and grow the profession, to further the education of art therapists, to support communities and populations that are marginalized and discriminated against, and to continue to speak out about injustice. The money stays in state to support the communities and the art therapists of New Mexico.