Date of Award

Spring 2020

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 project examines an array of art prompts and projects that have been used in program-based art making workshops to facilitate creative expression amongst those who have been impacted by a cancer diagnosis. The review of literature emphasizes the value of this research, as the field of healing arts programs/expressive arts workshops in cancer care is varied and sparse. While there is substantial research that indicates art therapy to be a highly valued and accepted clinical intervention used in cancer care, there is little research that focuses on the specific role of art making with cancer patients/survivors and even less research on program-based art making workshops. As an artist and cancer survivor, this research incorporates my lived experiences to inform the cataloging, evaluation, and analysis of five art projects completed and used as inspiration for a program-based art-making workshop. The artworks included are an altered book, a cloth doll, a paper mask, a wooden box, and a Styrofoam head. The five central themes that arose from these five particular projects include that they were fun/engaging, encouraged play/experimentation, increased self-understanding, fostered the need to creatively express unexpressed emotions, and offered a sense of pride/accomplishment. This preliminary research project suggests that a broader investigation is needed in order to gather a deeper understanding of the impact of program-based expressive arts workshops as a healing modality with this patient population.