Straight From the Heart

Therapeutic art programs help people transform their lives.

(This article by Lisa Martin originally appeared in the 2017 issue of “Endeavors” magazine.)

As a first-year elementary school art teacher in Shreveport, La., Amanda Allison struggled to connect with her students who had disabilities. But that ongoing challenge shaped her professional journey.

Photo of teacher working with student

Amanda Allison works with a student at International Newcomers Academy in Fort Worth. (Carolyn Cruz)

While teaching future art educators, Allison realized her passion centered around serving vulnerable children and adults. Twenty years after that initial classroom experience, Allison and her students at TCU have earned acclaim for designing therapeutic art programs for everyone from Alzheimer’s patients to orphans in Africa.

“The time is right for the therapeutic arts,” said Allison, associate professor of art and coordinator of the art education program. “Just providing marginalized populations with a chance to make art can have a transformative impact on their lives.”

Read more about how Allison and her students have earned acclaim designing therapeutic art programs in “Endeavors” magazine.