Art Making, Reflections, Self-Love / Self-Care

The Art Itch

By: Alanna Sindlinger, MA, LMHC
As an art therapist, it is important to continue to create your own art and have your own practice of self care through art making and creativity. I am continuously contemplating how to strengthen and honor this practice in my personal life. As many art therapists choose to do, I started my journey with art therapy by going to art school first with a minor in psychology. Being an artist has been a central part of my identity. I will often say, I am an artist first and an art therapist second even though it doesn’t always feel that way.

Many of us struggle with our identities as artists and how we can continue to incorporate that very important part of ourselves into our very busy lives. Here is a list of ideas I have had in continuing this practice and the struggles that I have had with maintaining this practice.

  • Process paintings over a period of time. Paint on a canvas once a week without developing a plan for the painting or concept except in the weekly sessions. These processes can have a focus on career/work or personal life.
  • Write poetry
  • Develop a series that continues to be an investigation throughout time.
  • Do directives that I want to ask clients to do or that I do ask clients to do.
  • Reflect on the day while creating a mandala.
  • Conceptual work centered around my relationship to the environment and commentary on environmental issues.
  • Write and illustrate Children’s books
  • Cook beautiful food that is based off of recipes but made into my own style.
  • Be inspired and follow through with a piece of art reflecting that inspiration.
  • Design a garden or a space
  • Dance
  • Pay attention to artist opportunities that I can be a part of.

Some of these IDEAS have never come into fruition but they are alive inside of me and the intention of following through is there. As artists, we have a different way of looking at the world, of perceiving the world, and of walking through the world.We tend to go against the grain and we often process our world a little uniquely as well. Instead of talking about it we may need to spend time in the studio with some paint and found objects to really describe and depict our inner thoughts and assessments about life, politics, culture, insights and our clients.  As we ask our clients to explore themselves in a deep intimate process through the mediums of their choosing as should we be doing the same exploration of ourselves on a regular basis.
Below is an opportunity for artists residing in New Mexico to help keep the artist itch alive.



Project Intent

TIME – Temporary Installations Made for the Environment – Edgewood

The Art in Public Places Program of New Mexico Arts, Route 66 Arts Alliance, and City of Edgewood seek to commission five temporary environmentally based artworks to be exhibited in various locations in Edgewood, New Mexico. The proposed artworks should relate to this year’s theme: “Persistence”

Project Intent
The strongest proposals will be for works which engage the temporary nature of this series of installations and relate strongly to the cultural and environmental histories of the area.  Site-specific and ephemeral works are encouraged. Artwork should appeal to both local residents and visitors to the area. No artwork requiring concrete pads or other environmentally damaging approaches will be considered. At the agreed upon time of removal, the artist will return the installation site to its original condition, subject to the approval of the site representative. Media must be low maintenance, safe for both children and adults, ADA compliant, and not leave a permanent mark on the environment when removed.

Accepting Applications through April 13th 2017

For more information visit
TIME: Edgewood

Art Making, Community Outreach

What is OFFCenter Community Arts Project?

​Promoting Postive Self-Identity and Resilience through Art Making

OFFCenter invites everyone, free of charge, to experience creativity in the community in a welcoming, safe space with an abundance of materials of all kinds. OFFCenter strengthens the fabric of our community and improves quality of life for all participants, especially for those who would otherwise remain isolated and excluded. In addition to 25 free open studio hours every week, OFFCenter provides after school art, serves as a free community resource for numerous agencies assisting mentally and physically disabled people and also brings free art making experiences to community events as diverse as the International District Health Fair, Civic Plaza Kids Fest, CiQlovia, and the Downtown Grower’s Market.

Visit OFFCenter Gallery Shop. OFFCenter offers local artists more selling opportunities throughout the year in their low- commission Gallery Shop and “open to all” exhibitions. Come shop for beautifully handcrafted art, gifts and cards in the Gallery store this Holiday season and support local artists. 


Writing Group – with Mandy Gardner –
Wednesdays: 3-4pm
Painting and Drawing – with Lynnette Haozous – Thursdays: 1-3pm
Card Making – with Karen Turner –
Thursdays: 3-5pm
iCreate Guitar* – with Leslie Bailey –
Fridays: 2:30-3:30pm
iCreate Ukulele* – with Leslie Bailey –
Fridays: 3:30-4:30pm
Knitting & Crochet Circle – with Sybil Wertheim –
Saturdays: 11:30 – 1:30pm
OFFCenter is located in downtown Albuquerque at:

808 Park Avenue, SW
Albuquerque, NM, 87102

Check out their website for hours and other upcoming events!

Field of Art Therapy, Legislation

SWC hosts important NMATA meeting about Legislation

Dr. Debbie Good and Lisa Graff have been working extraordinarily hard to support the success of Art Therapists in the State.  They have a bill written that will eliminate discriminatory practices that do not allow professional Art Therapists to be reimbursed by Group Health Care Insurance Plans.

Senator Cisco McSorley has agreed to sponsor our bill.

We have arranged this meeting to inform all stakeholders of the needs and next steps to support the successful passing of this important law.  The legislative session runs January 17 – March 20 this year and we need to get organized and active now.

•                Meeting Date:  Tuesday, January 24, 2017
•                Time:  5:30pm for refreshments; 6:00 – 7:00 for information, discussion, and volunteer sign-up
•                Location:  Large Art Classroom at Southwestern College

We have done the footwork and now WE NEED YOU!  We need every one of the stakeholders in the art therapy profession to attend.  This includes current art therapists, students, faculty, alumni, school officials, NMATA members, friends of NMATA, and consumers of art therapy; those who can testify to the power of this form of treatment.  Please consider asking clients that you feel would be willing to testify, to attend this informational meeting.

Take the action to come, get informed, and involved!


New Beginnings!!!

Announcing our New Board!!!

And THANK YOU to those returning for another Term of Service.

Our 2017 Board includes:

President – Valerie Valentine
President Elect – Wendy Wasserman
Secretary – Autumn Kern
Treasurer – Amy Griffin
New Board Member – Linnea Knoespel
New Board Member – Nora Cassar
New Board Member with New Baby! born 12/22 – Alanna Sindlinger
New Student Member – Rebecca Lapera
New Student Member – Cinna Boyle
New Student Member – Dana Simmons

The amendment passed so that terms are now two years.  We will figure out how to rotate these this coming year.  Our Board meetings are on the Second Saturday of each month.

Thank you to all that supported the Holiday Craft Fair.  We had a good presence and do have art left to sell at the AATA conference.

Here is to the New Year and all the Possibilities that are before us!!!  All the Very Best to Everyone!!!


NMATA Membership

Connecting with each other for the last NMATA Membership Meeting of 2016!

As we move into the Mystery of Winter,
Let’s gather to Create Warmth and Connection!

December is upon us and as the year comes to an end, NMATA is preparing for our last Membership Meeting of 2016.

Please plan and attend:
This Saturday, December 10, from 10:30am-12:30pm
At Debbie Good’s home in ABQ:  2489 Elfego Rd NW

We will review the year, make plans for next, open voting for our new Board of Directors, share food, and gift each other.

Bring anything you want to share to eat and a small gift to give to another art therapist; but if you have neither please come anyway.  We will have an art station for creating cards for each other and there is always enough food to share.

Come share your Light and your Presence.
We look forward to being with you all.
We will also be accepting donations for our fund raiser, Dec 22 and 23 at the Santa Fe Holiday Craft Fair at the Rail yard.

Thank you in advance for any art you feel you could bring.

Truly Hoping to Connect! ​

Advocacy, NMATA Board, NMATA Membership

Critical Time for Gratitude and Activism

Sending Us All Deep Love and AppreciationAnd Reasons to be Thankful!!!

I am so thankful to be a part of such a powerful profession that is all about honoring the individual, supporting diversity, creating health, and seeing beauty everywhere.  I offer that each one of us can take peace in knowing that we are aligned and active in our values and our passions.  This is such a priceless part of my reality and I hope yours.  I invite us all to breath this and live this with confidence.  Thank you all for being Art Therapists!  You are Beautiful and the Light of the World.  I am grateful to call you my colleagues and friends.

I am writing to remind you of the opportunity to be active and to serve this world in a positive way, by nominating yourself or someone else for position on NMATA’s Board of Directors.  Nominations will close at midnight on next Monday, Nov 28.

Go to:

Use the access code:  Artfully1234

You will need the name, email, and phone number of the person you are nominating.  You can nominate yourself and you are encouraged to do so.

Another reminder:  Please attend our last Membership Meeting of 2016!!
December 10, 10:30-12:30, @ Deborah Good’s home
2489 Elfego Road NW in ABQ.  Her home phone is 505-314-2815.
We will be exchanging gifts, and if you are not able to make something before hand, we will has an art station set up for art making.  This will be a pot luck; so if you can bring something to share, but if not please come anyway.  We will review the year, project into next, and spend time appreciating and gifting each other.

Also, we will be accepting donations for our fund raising efforts at that meeting.  We will be having a holiday booth at the Railyard in Santa Fe, Dec 22 and 23.  Any art you would care to donate will be greatly appreciated.  What does not sell there will be sold at the AATA conference next year.  Your donations are tax deductible.

I encourage you to take this time to confirm and rededicate your values and what you are grateful for.  Remember, the vibration of gratitude is a powerful creative force.  Affirm the very best of yourselves, your loved ones and your lives and celebrate a Happy Thanksgiving!
With Great Gratitude,

American Art Therapy Association, CEU Offerings, NMATA Membership, Values

November Newsletter

​Let Your Light Shine!!!

Greetings everyone!!
As we head into the home stretch of this historical Presidential election, I encourage us all to stand in your own highest values.  May we each be impeccable with our words and always offer our very best to each other.  We are the heart and soul of this nation, each and every one of us.  May we use our individual power to raise each other up, encourage creativity and health, and be our unique amazing authentic selves.  As art therapists, this is our job.  How great is that!  I am so grateful for each and every one of you.  You are an incredible clan to belong to.  I am honored to hold this position and to offer my very best to each of you.

We will be heading into our own elections soon, so please be thinking of who you will nominate to serve on our Board of Directors and please consider serving yourself.  It is very fulfilling to serve for a cause you are passionate about and our profession is certainly something to be passionate about.  We are unique in the healing/medical field because of the value we offer.  It is a privilege to sit and support our clients in knowing their unique value.    It is also a privilege to guide NMATA and to represent the art therapists in our amazing State, especially with the opportunities next year to host AATA in ABQ.

Wendy Wasserman, your NMATA Board member who Chairs the Local Arts Committee, and myself met with AATA last Thursday while they were doing a site visit in ABQ.  They were excited about next year’s conference and all we have to offer.  There are going to be some great opportunities to participate and I encourage you all to make it a point to get involved.  Call Wendy directly at 516-527-2323.

I, also, encourage you all to consider presenting your work at the AATA conference.  NMATA is offering a 3 CEU workshop next Saturday, Nov 5, from 1-4, at Mesa Vista Wellness, to help us all prepare our presentations and to successfully navigate the application process through the AATA site.  The CEU is called Professional Presentation and will also guide participants through how to present CEU workshops.  Please RSVP at 505-577-2469 or at the NMATAemail:, as soon as possible.  Fee is $30 for NMATA members and $45 for non-members.  The CEU is relevant for any one wishing to create and present professional workshops.

NMATA is doing a Holiday Fund Raiser!   We will be getting a booth at the Farmer’s Market during their special Holiday Market, scheduled for the Thursday, 22nd and Friday the 23rd, right before Christmas this year.  Many of you have already volunteered to donate art work for the sale.  I am asking that anyone with some art to donate, please call me 577-2469, and let’s see if we can work out a drop off time for next weekend.  We need it soon because we need to present some of the work for jury to secure the booth.  I will keep the work safe and transport the day of the sale.  I am really inspired and excited to see all the great art and crafts being offered and humbly ask you all to consider donating at least one piece.

Last note:  Be sure and mark your calendars for the last 2016 NMATAMembership Meeting to be held in ABQ at Deborah Good’s beautiful home;  December 10, 10:30-12:30.  We are asking everyone to bring something yummy to share to eat and to bring a special gift made with intention and creativity for our gift swap.  The gift should somehow honor the art therapist and the work of therapy; some kind of self care or inspiration or beauty that reflects the care and depth of our profession.  We will be announcing the winners of our elections during this meeting.

We will be sending out an email to members only in the coming week with the details of the nomination and election process.  And that brings us full circle.

Until we connect again, validate yourselves, honor your work, strengthen your intentions, and revel in your own exquisite self-expression.  You are precious.

Dedicatedly Yours,
Val Valentine


Call for Nominations to NMATA 2017 Board of Directors

Call for Nominations for
NMATA Board of Directors 2017

I know everyone has had all the election mayhem one can stand, but this is not politics…this is service.  Please carefully consider who you want to nominate to serve on the Board of Directors for NMATA.  Next year will be a busy year.  We have some great things started including legislative change so art therapists can receive third party payment directly, new ideas for CEU offerings, membership and fund raising events, and of course the AATA conference.  We have accomplished a lot this year and the momentum is still building.  Next year’s Board will have a great foundation to stand on.
Here is the link to the nomination process:

Use the access code:  Artfully1234

Nominations will open tomorrow November 7 and run through midnightNovember 28.  There will be a vetting process and Nominees will be announced.  Voting will begin December 10 and run through midnighton December 17.  The winners will be announced on December 21!

We had hoped the process would be completed by our December 10membership meeting, but it will take longer.  This year’s Board will facilitate a training process and be present to integrate new members at the first Board Meeting of 2017.  Board meetings are scheduled for the second Saturday of each month, with the first of 2017 on Saturday, January 14, 2017, 9-12pm.

Other news:

We have been approved to have a booth at the Farmers/Crafter’s Market at the Rail yard for their Holiday Fair on December 22 and 23.  We have had some great…fantastic donations and are open for more.  What does not sell at this market, we will sell at the AATA conference at our NMATA booth, with all proceeds going to NMATA.  We will create a schedule for the days of the Holiday Fair so think about donating a couple of hours to be at the booth and represent NMATA.  It promises to be warm and cheery and fun.

Lastly, don’t forget to make a little gift for a fellow art therapist and attend the NMATA Holiday Membership Meeting, December 10 in ABQ!!  That is definitely going to be a very special gathering.

Thank you all so much for your support and interest in NMATA.

Please consider serving on our Board of Directors.  It is an honor and a pleasure to be around other art therapists and to witness different talents evolving and creating within a group.  I know it has been extremely beneficial and valuable for me and I trust for each board member this year.
Again please go to the link:  and participate.

CEU Offerings, NMATA Board, NMATA Membership

October Newsletter

I have some updates, so please take note…

  • The CEU presentation, Professional Presentation Workshop, has been postponed until Saturday, November 5, 1:00 – 4:00 pm.  We only had five people sign up and we need ten people and AATA has not posted their call for submissions yet.  Please call 505-577-2469, or email to sign-up for this workshop.  Again the cost is $30 for members and $45 for non-members.  We will keep the location at Mesa Vista Wellness, 2019 Galisteo St, Ste D-2, Santa Fe.


  • As an incentive for our membership, we are offering a special reward if you get one person to join membership, you and your friend receive one free CEU presentation.  If you get a friend to join this month, you could go to the Professional Presentation CEU (3CEUs) for free!  Ask your friends and tell them to let us know they are joining under this special incentive plan!!


  • Just a reminder that our next Board Meeting is next weekend, Saturday, Oct 8, from 9:00-12:00 at Mesa Vista Wellness.  You are invited to attend to learn more about the business of running NMATA and to offer your support and help.


  • We are happy to announce that Linnea Knoespel has agreed to assume leadership of the Nominating Committee this year!  THANK YOU, LINNEA!!   We will be sending out a Call for Nominees in November, so start thinking about who you would like to nominate, someone open and receptive to this kind of service and professional development.


  • Wendy and I have a meeting with AATA personnel flying in this month to ABQ to begin the official planning for Conference next year.  Please contact Wendy directly at to volunteer for this important committee work.


  • We had several of you volunteer art work for the Holiday Fund Raiser and send out a great big THANK YOU to you ALL!!!  We will need and take all donations, so if you have not volunteered to donate yet, please consider doing so.  We will be sending out the details for this event and the collection date for the art soon, so stay on the look out for that.

And lastly, be sure and mark you calendars now for the final NMATA Membership Meeting of 2016, to be held at Deborah Good’s home on Saturday, December 10 from 10:30-12:30.  We will meet together, review 2016, make plans for 2017, share food (Pot luck so bring your favorite dish to share) and have an Art Therapist Gift Exchange.  Please make some kind of small art honoring the work of the therapist, wrap it up, and bring so that we can gift each other in a beautiful way.

That’s it for now!  I am sorry if the change for the CEU is a problem for any of you.  I am really hoping the November date will work better more people.  We are trying to be adaptable, efficient,  and flexible for the greatest good of all.  Hope to see you all there.  Please RSVP as soon as you know you can attend this date.

Have a great month!  And as always, please feel free to contact me directly with ideas, thoughts, and suggestions.    Val

American Art Therapy Association, CEU Offerings, Field of Art Therapy

Our Beautiful Garden Grows at Meow Wolf!

It seems like such a long time since I sat to write to you all.  It has been a full and challenging summer.  I find myself affected by a complex, ever-changing, and often heart-breaking world condition, as we all do; I am sure.  In this time of incredible transformation and challenge, it is imperative that we all hold to the things that feed our souls. I trust that our creative work that supports the well-being and health of our clients and our communities does make a difference, and that feeds my soul.  I appreciate each and everyone of you on the deepest levels.  We at NMATA endeavor to continue to provide an anchor and a place for all of us in this profession to be supported.

The AATA conference in Baltimore was incredibly empowering in this way.  To hear Bruce Moon speak of Love in our profession was truly inspiring.  To see presentations about the founders and leaders of Art Therapy validated the intention, power, and incredible value of the work we do.  To listen to art therapists from all over the world talking about the healing they facilitate, expanded vision and soothed the heart.  I am so excited that we, in New Mexico, get to host this amazing conference next year.
What an honor and a gift!!

I want to encourage you all to consider presenting your work at the AATA Conference 2017 and fully participating in any way you can.  As the hosting State there will be plenty to do, and the pay off is amazing.  You will connect and learn and be fed soul food to walk away nourished and stronger and clear about the power of the work you do.  NMATA will be presenting a CEU workshop, Professional Presentation, October 8 from 1pm-4pm for 3 CEU’s to support us all in how to present our work and the submission process for AATA.  The charge will be only $30 for members.  We hope to get as many of you as we can reach to get inspired and informed about Professional Presentation Process.  Mark you calendars and contact me directly to sign-up.  We will determine location after we see where the majority of interested people are located.  More details at the Membership Meeting…

Take note of the Membership Meeting in September to be in Santa Fe.  We are alternating quarterly between SF and ABQ.  You are all invited to attend, participate, and benefit!  We are doing a variety of work to advocate for all of us, including legislatively.  Come and get informed!!!

I invite you all to contact me directly any time, with questions, ideas, or needs.  Please know it is my joy to be available to you.  Hope to see you all in September!