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ART THERAPISTS MAKING THINGS HAPPEN

Melissa Diaz

About the Artist 

Melissa Diaz is an artist and a licensed, registered, board-certified art therapist living and working in Brooklyn, NY. She holds a BFA in Painting from The University of Central Florida and an MPS in Art Therapy & Creativity Development from Pratt Institute. In 2010, Diaz founded Open House BK, a community arts initiative that provides free/affordable pop-up art events, exhibitions and therapeutic arts workshops. As a Creative Arts Therapist, Diaz has experience utilizing art therapy, play therapy and mindfulness practices with adults, children and families. She has worked as a therapist and teaching artist in shelters, schools, museums, and inpatient and outpatient psychiatric settings. Diaz has presented widely on the topic of art therapy application, at institutions including Pratt Institute, University of Central Florida, University of Wisconsin, Health Magazine and Blick Art Materials. In her artwork, Diaz creates interactive installation art as a source of community engagement. In 2015, she was awarded a residency at the Marble House Project, where she explored the integration of installation art, art therapy and environment. Diaz has exhibited widely throughout NYC and nationally, in galleries and alternative spaces. In all her work, she considers space, relationships, and holding environment.



Melissa Diaz's installation Growth Spurts is a playful exploration of inner and outer environments, based on the concept of spores growing and reshaping the space they inhabit. Akin to stalactites growing in a cave, these sculptural works represent consistent, gradual and repetitive growth. Conceptually, this work reflects how individual elements in a community can affect space, growth and development. Diaz utilizes pipe cleaners and other playful materials to engender curiosity, nostalgia, demystification of the artist, and art accessibility.

Also featured in the space is the artist's accompanying body of work, Rad Rocks. Made to mimic the appearance of crystals and rare stones, these works represent transitional objects and touch on Diaz's interest in crystal healing energy. "Transitional objects," as coined by psychoanalyst D.W. Winnicott, refers to an object that exists in between inner and outer reality, subjective and objective experience. Like the transitional object, Diaz imbues these rocks with meaning/importance beyond the reality of their make up. The exhibition will culminate in a Rad Rocks workshop, inviting the viewer to interactively engage with the space, highlighting universalities, and forming a communal, transitional space.



NorCATA's feature: ​"Art Therapists Making Things Happen", was  envisioned by Robin Valicenti, and is currently curated by Abby Zimberg. Melissa Diaz was profiled in Spring of 2018.  

 Please contact Abby if you know of a Northern Californian Art Therapist whose art and projects deserve mention in this space.


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NorCATA is approved by the Internal Revenue Services as a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization that promotes the therapeutic use of art throughout Northern California, public awareness of art therapy, professional development through educational events, workshops, conferences, and more.  All donations are tax deductible to the full extent provided by law.

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