who we are
Our programs strive to make arts accessible, meaningful, and useful to all individuals, including those unable to participate in traditional community arts programs. We’ve provided innovative therapeutic art programs to more than 50,000 people throughout Cuyahoga and neighboring counties in a variety of settings. Our programs include customized contracted services at area agencies, hospital-based programs, employee wellness programs, professional education workshops, and our pioneering Discover the Artist Within You community classes. All of our programs have been developed around the philosophy that art making is central to healing and wellness and use the creative process of making art to improve and enhance well-being.
Our core values guide how we support each other and our clients:
- Creativity: We believe in the inherent power of the creative process to make positive changes in the artist’s life.
- Health and Wellness: Through art therapy, we want to help people feel better physically and emotionally.
- Empowerment: We put control in the artist’s hands so they feel empowered to create, share and grow.
- Inclusiveness: We create safe, non-judgmental places where all artists are respected and viewed as equals.
- Collaboration: We value teamwork across all relationships.
- Accountability: We operate with integrity and strive for excellence in all we do.
- Sustainability: We maximize limited resources and work to increase our impact on our community.
The Art Therapy Studio was co-founded in 1967 by art therapist Mickie McGraw and psychiatrist George Streeter. The idea for the studio developed out of Dr. Streeter’s long-time personal interest in art. Both had used art making at a young age as a way to cope with serious physical illness – he with tuberculosis and she with polio. While working at Highland View Hospital, which is now part of the MetroHealth system, Dr. Streeter approached Mickie with his idea to open an art studio in the hospital for patients. After completing her degree at the Cleveland Institute of Art, she returned to the hospital a year later ready to start.
The program, which originated in the rehabilitation department, provided services throughout MetroHealth hospital, including in the dialysis, intensive care, burn, substance abuse and oncology units. In the 1980s, the studio expanded to include community-based programs in order to provide continued services after patient discharge and to extend services to members of the community.
By the early 1990s, the studio became a freestanding nonprofit, relocating to its current Fairhill Road location. As inpatient stays shortened, the programming expanded to serve fee-for-service clients at community-based health care and social service sites.
We’ve been featured as a “Place of Note” in Crain’s Cleveland.
Check out our article in CAN Journal.
Shannon Scott-Miller, ATR-BC
Shannon holds a Master of Arts in Art Therapy from Vermont College of Norwich University. Previously, she was an art therapist/child life specialist for the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital of the University of Michigan Health System before working with adults as an art therapist and then Program Coordinator of Complimentary Therapies for the Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Michigan. She subsequently worked as a Community Art Therapy Program Coordinator for Adrian College. She is former president of the Michigan Art Therapy Association and past board member of the American Art Therapy Association.
Deborah Carl, MA, ATR, CPRP
Deborah is a graduate of Ursuline College and holds a Master of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling. She is a registered art therapist and a certified psychiatric rehabilitation practitioner. Her 16 year career as a behavioral health specialist was spent with a county agency before joining the Art Therapy Studio in 2014. Deborah’s work focuses on serving adults with severe and persistent mental health challenges. A life-long artist, her special art skills include drawing, painting and ceramics.
Jennifer Talley, MM
Jennifer holds a Master of Music in Musicology from Florida State University where she taught music history, world music, and history of jazz. Jennifer joined the Art Therapy Studio in 2016, when she recently relocated to Cleveland. She comes to us from another non-profit agency where she served as an administrative assistant for four years.
Stephanie Soduk, MA
Communications and Marketing Specialist
Stephanie holds a Master of Arts in Communication from The Ohio State University. She joined Art Therapy Studio in 2016 and is excited to bring her passion for mental health and marketing to the Studio. Prior to joining the Art Therapy Studio, she worked with two non-profit behavioral healthcare providers in northeastern Ohio.
Hope McGuan, MBA
Hope holds an MBA and a bachelor’s degree in finance from Cleveland State University. She joined Art Therapy Studio in 2017 and has over 10 years of nonprofit business experience in the arts and culture sector.
Amber McElreath, MA, LPC
Amber is an Art Therapist, Licensed Professional Counselor, and fine artist. She holds a master’s degree in art therapy and has experience working with adults with intellectual disabilities as well as adults with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, autism, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. Although she has been working primarily in medical art therapy, she is experienced in art psychotherapy and treating individuals with mental illness. Amber has presented lectures on art therapy as well as her own autobiographical assemblages.
Ashleigh Brooks, MA
Ashleigh is a recent graduate of Ursuline College’s Masters of Arts in Art Therapy and Counseling program. Ashleigh has extensive experience working with clients ranging in age from young children to seniors. She has worked with individuals that have limited mobility, clients with mental health and behavioral diagnoses, as well as medical patients.
Cheryl Pete, MA, LPC
Cheryl holds a master’s degree in art therapy and counseling from Ursuline College. She is an Art Therapist and Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) with experience working with veterans, adults with chemical dependency issues, and adults with developmental disabilities.
Denise Cooper, MA, ATR-BC, LPCC
Denise is a board certified art therapist and licensed professional clinical counselor for the state of Ohio. She holds a master’s degree in art therapy and has worked with the Art Therapy Studio since 2004 facilitating community art classes. Denise also works with individuals with spinal cord injuries and adults with cerebral palsy and facilitates art therapy with adults with developmental disabilities.
Kate Strazisar, MA, ATR-BC, LSW
Kate is an artist, art educator, and art therapist. She holds a master’s degree in art therapy. In addition to facilitating adult community classes at the Art Therapy Studio, she works with children and adolescents in her private practice and serves as adjunct faculty for the Counseling and Art Therapy program at Ursuline College. Kate encourages clients to create health and healing in their own lives through involvement in the creative process and enjoys mentoring others.
Kim Gazella, MA, ATR-BC
Kim is a board certified art therapist with over 18 years of clinical experience working with physical medicine and rehabilitation patients who have sustained spinal cord injuries, strokes and traumatic brain injuries. Kim also provides art therapy services to skilled level medical patients and in-patient psychiatric individuals. She facilitates community art classes, has presented various continuing education workshops, and provides art therapy services through her private practice. Kim focuses on building strengths and using the creative process to assist with planning, problem solving and personal expression as a means for healing and growth.
Rosalia Rozsahegyi, MA, LPAT, ATR-BC
Rosalia is a board certified art therapist with nearly 20 years of experience. After obtaining her master’s degree in art therapy from Ursuline College, she worked in many settings ranging from residential treatment to volunteering with orphan children in Russia. Since 2006, she has worked at the Art Therapy Studio in various settings and has experience working with individuals in long-term spinal cord injury care, psychiatry, Dementia, and pediatric outpatient and oncology.
Sarah Morgan, MA, LPC
Sarah Morgan graduated from Ursuline College and holds a master’s in Art Therapy and Counseling. Post-graduation, she worked as a licensed professional counselor and art therapist at a public mental health agency before joining Art Therapy Studio in 2016. Sarah has experience working with children, adolescents, and adults with different diagnoses, backgrounds, and cultures. She has knowledge of different art mediums including painting, drawing, print making, ceramics, collage, mixed media, and photography.
Dena Ewing, MA, ATR-BC, RYT-200
Dena is a board certified art therapist and 200-hour registered yoga teacher. She was awarded a master’s degree in Creative Arts in Therapy from Drexel University in 2012 and completed training as a yoga teacher in 2016. Dena has primarily worked with children and adolescents with severe trauma histories, developmental disabilities, psychiatric diagnoses and behavioral concerns spanning school based, outpatient and inpatient acute hospital settings, residential treatment and juvenile detention centers. In her sessions she encourages growth and insight through deliberate experimentation, observation and non-judgement. .
Carly Salpietro, MA, LPC, AT
Carly Salpietro is an Art Therapist and Licensed Professional Counselor. She graduated from Ursuline College in 2016 and holds her master’s degree in counseling and art therapy. Carly has experience working with clients ranging in age from children to older adults. She has worked with individuals approaching the end of their life, families coping with grief, and children with chronic medical conditions. Carly is passionate about exploring different art media and pursuing new art techniques to share with her clients.
The Art Therapy Studio is governed by a Board of Trustees.
Chris Treu, President, has served on the board since 2012.
Wanda Shippy, Vice President, marketing manager at Progressive Insurance, has served on the board since 2013.
Kelly Skeat, Secretary, Partner at Benesch Attorneys at Law, has served on the board since 2015.
Ben Stumpf, CPA Treasurer, Associate at EdgePoint Capital, has served on the board since 2015.
Dwight M. Allgood Jr., has served on the board since 2004.
Maura L. Hughes, Partner at Calfee Halter & Griswold, has served on the board since 2007.
Kirsty McNamara, Associate at Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP, has served on the board since 2017.
Brett Shaheen, Founder SHAHEEN Modern and Contemporary Art Gallery, has served on the board since 2007.
Meredith Reeves Slosberg, Deployment Leader in Organizational Effectiveness and Transformation, Akron Children’s Hospital, has served on the board since 2017.
Jay Valerian, Senior Vice President & Relationship Sales Manager at Liberty Bank, has served on the board since 2017.
Mary K. (Mickie) McGraw, Honorary Member & Co-Founder
Carol Kelley, Honorary Member
George Streeter, MD (1916-2013), Honorary Member & Co-Founder