Date of Award

Spring April 2016

Access Restriction

Research Projects

Degree Name

Master of Arts


Marital and Family Therapy

School or College

College of Communication and Fine Arts

First Advisor

Debra Linesch


This research explores the impact of a three day Artist Residency Program at a K-8th public school on a Native American Reservation. The program is evaluated through a lens of Social Action Art Therapy and aims to uncover how this program impacted a community— including teachers, students, and parents, and facilitators. The researcher examined social action literature, social action art literature, social action art therapy literature, as well as social action with Native Americans literature. The researcher used a qualitative approach, specifically an Inquisitive Case study, in which data was collected through the researchers notes. These notes then informed the creation of a survey that was given to teachers as well as the Artist Residency program facilitators. Next, the researcher conducted interviews for further examination of the impact. All the data was placed into an organizing table in which four main themes and three minor themes emerged. The resulting data themes include: 1) Art illuminated the students Native American Hoopa identity and culture, 2) art increased student participation, facilitated storytelling, and conversations about the student’s feelings and art provided a sense of agency, 3) art created and strengthened bonds among the students, teachers, parents and facilitators and facilitators were seen as role models for the students, and 4) the facilitator’s desire to be involved in similar art therapy social action projects increased as they were personally and professionally impacted by the Artist Residency Program. Three minor themes include: a) Some teachers found new ways to integrate art in their classroom, b) the foreign art medium choice increased risk taking, engagement, creativity as well as provided students with new skills, c) some changes noted, more time needed to see larger change. These themes were then examined in the context of art therapy social action literature and findings suggested positive impacts of the social action art therapy informed Artist Residency program.