Contact: Melissadiazart@gmail.com for purchase.
Small Air Plant holders, Air Plant included. $15.00
Melissa Diaz a New York State Licensed Creative Arts Therapist, Nationally Registered, Board-Certified Art Therapist, and Community-Oriented Artist. She holds a BFA in Painting from The University of Central Florida, an MPS in Art Therapy & Creativity Development from Pratt Institute, and a certificate in Integrated Mental Health/Addiction Treatment. Melissa has over 14 years of experience in Mental Health, holding roles as a primary therapist, group therapist, and program director. She has utilized art therapy in a variety of settings, including inpatient and outpatient mental health, family shelters, schools, and museums. Through these experiences, Melissa has had the opportunity to support individuals experiencing depression, anxiety, trauma, mental illness, developmental disabilities, addiction, familial issues, life transitions, and stigmatization.
By integrating Humanistic, Attachment, and Behavioral frameworks, Melissa provides a person-centered approach that meets the client or group where they are at. Throughout all her work, she weaves in anti-oppressive practice, mindfulness, and self-compassion, while encouraging the unpacking of collective and systemic issues that impact communities.
In addition to her therapeutic practice, Melissa founded Open House BK (est. 2010), a Brooklyn-based, community arts initiative that provides affordable pop-up events, emerging artist exhibitions, and therapeutic workshops. Open House strives to shed light on the arts and community as integral for social justice, personal healing, and progress.
Melissa has also worked as an educator for Pratt Institute’s and Southwestern College’s Art Therapy Departments. In those roles she taught Graduate-level courses in Clinical Supervision, Art Diagnosis, Dynamics of Materials, Ethics, and Professional Development At Pratt, she developed the Art Therapy Department’s first BIPOC Affinity Groups and all Social Media platforms. Previously, Melissa held the position of Chapter Delegate to the New York Art Therapy Association and was a former member of the Art Committee of AATA. Melissa is also a practicing studio artist, exhibiting in galleries, universities, and alternative spaces. In her artwork, she creates interactive installation art as a source of viewer engagement. Melissa believes creativity exists within everyone, serving as a gateway to healing, transforming, and exploring the impact of one’s internal and external experiences.
As both an artist and art therapist, I consider space, relationships, and holding environment. My artwork is an ongoing exploration of inner and outer habitats that reflect elements of nature, growth, transition, and coexistence. I am interested in portraying the tension and ambiguity of micro and macro environments. Within these environments, I aim to form a transitional space that welcomes play and introspection. Transitional Space, coined by psychoanalyst and theorist, D.W. Winnicott, refers to space in between subjective and objective reality, a space of pure creativity and play.
While I organically inhabit this experience in the studio and therapeutic space, I hope to cultivate it further within the exhibition space. I do so by use of playful arrangements, choice of material, and inviting the viewer to engage with the work through the act of imaginative play. By utilizing simple/child-like materials, I encourage accessibility of art-making, demystifying of the artist, and transformative powers of creativity. I also strive to create interactive components that foster social engagement, highlight universalities and form a sense of communal transitional space. My work forms a relationship with the surroundings and the viewer, paralleling my framework as an art therapist.
Videos & Interviews on works and process: