Education- Gretchen obtained a Bachelor of Science in Art Therapy from Bowling Green State University (BGSU) and received her Master of Arts in Art Therapy from Ursuline College. During her time at BGSU, Gretchen was the recipient of The School of Art's James W. Strong Community Service Award, in which she received funding to develop and implement a community-based arts program for youth. Gretchen was also the recipient for Outstanding Art Therapy Student awarded by BGSU's College of Health and Human Services. In graduate school, Gretchen was the award recipient for Exceptional Creativity and Achievement in Thesis Research from Ursuline College's Master of Arts in Art Therapy Program. In honor of Ursuline College’s Art Therapy and Counseling Program 25th Anniversary in 2011, Gretchen received an Alumni Service Award for Promoting the Field of Art Therapy and Building Community, as well as an Award of Commendation for Student Mentoring and Supervision.
In 2015 Gretchen joined Akron Children's Hospital Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient team in the Division of Psychology & Psychiatry to facilitate art therapy groups with adolescents. She also currently coordinates and provides art therapy outreach services for Ursuline ArtSpace. News articles about Gretchen's work as an art therapist includes this Plain Dealer employment feature and this interview with The Huffingtion Post.
Gretchen has also worked with Intific, a team awarded Phase I and 2 funding for a US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) grant for "Reflect", an Online Graphic Novel/Sequential Art Authoring Tools for Therapeutic Storytelling. The goal of this project was to create a new form of digital expression that is ideal for therapy, education, and training, particularly with combat veterans and military personnel.
Community Organizing and Social Media- Gretchen has an interest in social media and computer technology, which includes creating, designing, and managing various websites, forums, and blogging related to art therapy, creativity, e-networking, and community organizing for art therapists. In 2008, she founded The Art Therapy Alliance, an on-line professional network that embraces social media and connection to promote art therapy, the work of art therapists, and build community. Gretchen also created the online community 6 Degrees of Creativity in 2011 that cultivates creative goodness through artmaking, collaboration, and connection. In 2013, Gretchen joined the American Art Therapy Association's Social Media Committee, serving as Content Creator for the Association's Facebook page. In 2016 she was honored for her social media work and promotion of the profession by the AATA with a Presidential Recognition Award.
Contributing Author, Social Media and Creative Motivation, Chapter 2
Creative Practice- Gretchen enjoys finding inspiration, creating positive energy, and discovering transformation by working in mixed media, collage, altered art, art journaling, as well as organizing global art exchanges and creative collaborations. Gretchen has been part of the 21 SECRETS Art Journaling Workshop Teaching Collective (2011), as well as an invited teacher for 2015 and 2016's holistic visual journaling workshop, Spectrum. You can learn more about Gretchen's art, projects, and creative interests on her blog Creativity in Motion.
Professional Affiliations and Service- Gretchen has been active within the American Art Therapy Association (AATA) for over 20 years. Her past AATA committee work has included Student Subcommittee Chair (1997-1999), Education Committee (1999-2002), Web Editorial Committee (2002-2003), Publications Committee (2005-2006), Governmental Affairs Committee (2007-2008) and AATA's Journal Advisory Board (2007-2009). Gretchen also served as the Association's Web Editor from 2005-2008 and Program Chair for AATA's 40th Anniversary Conference in 2009. In 2017, Gretchen was elected to the AATA's Board of Directors for a two year term. She also serves as an Ad Hoc Reviewer for Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association. Gretchen is a member of Ohio's Buckeye Art Therapy Association (BATA) and is a Past President of this non-profit professional organization dedicated to the advancement of art therapy in this state. She also served as BATA's Publications Committee Chair, which included being the Editor of BATA's quarterly newsletter, The Palette. Gretchen also currently serves on the Board of Advisors for Southwestern College to assist with areas of concern and interest for the college's leadership.