You live to create and help others. With a bachelor’s degree in Art Therapy, you can unite those two passions and make a living in a meaningful way by using your artistic and people skills to help children, the elderly and adults with special needs. With an emphasis on process over product, you’ll learn to guide the therapeutic use of art-making to help individuals develop a relationship with art, build on their strengths and open pathways to better communication.
This major pairs well with a major or minor in Business, Creative Arts or Creative Studies in Writing.
One thing that makes Alverno’s Art Therapy program unique is the ample opportunities for on-the-job practice before you even graduate. You’ll begin your required four semester-long field experiences – where you’ll be paired with working artists and art therapists in the community – as early as your sophomore year. Your responsibilities will grow with every experience, and by your third field placement you’ll be in charge of planning and facilitating your own creative arts group. Unlike other art therapy programs that may focus on group field experiences, Alverno’s program ensures that you build the personal leadership and facilitation skills that you’ll need on the job. We’ll also make sure you work with a variety of populations, such as the elderly, adults with cognitive challenges or children on the autism spectrum, so you’ll have a well-rounded understanding of the field. All of this will prepare you for your 20-hour-a-week internship your senior year.
Enrich your education
Past students have attended a local art therapy symposium and presented about their field experiences at the national conference of the American Art Therapy Association. The student organization Artourage also provides art-making and community-based service opportunities for Alverno’s art majors.
Learn from the best
You'll work closely with faculty who are board-certified art therapists and practicing artists. Our faculty are leaders in the field and many are currently serving on the board of the Wisconsin Art Therapy Association and are active in professional organizations at the national level.
Internships for the Art Therapy major
Interested in using art to build women’s self-confidence at a women’s center? Curious about what it’s like to work with veterans in a residential setting? With 50-plus sites around the metro Milwaukee area, Alverno’s Art Therapy program can help you find the best opportunities to fit your personal and professional goals. Past interns have worked at the Milwaukee Catholic Home, the Donna Lexa Arts Centers, Islands of Brilliance, the Milwaukee Center for Independence, the Milwaukee LGBT Community Center, St. Marcus Lutheran School and Alexian Village, among other sites.
How you can use your degree
With a bachelor’s degree in Art Therapy, you can work as an activities coordinator in residential programs, open studios and community art centers, as well as in creative case management for children on the autism spectrum. You can also write grants and receive funding as part of a nonprofit organization. Because of your extensive field and internship experiences, you’ll be well-prepared to transition to the workforce, and you’ll already have terrific networking connections. Our graduates are often hired by their field placement or internship sites. This degree is also excellent preparation for graduate work in art therapy, counseling or psychology.
GET IN TOUCH!
Have questions about studying Art Therapy at Alverno? We invite you to connect with faculty to learn more.
Michele Burnie, MS, ATR-BC
Art Therapy Program Director