Special Events

We are excited to present a number of EXA events within the conference to spark community, conversation, connection, and action! 

FRIDAY, MARCH 1, 2019, 7PM

Shining Star Award

What it is and how it works!

The Shining Star award honors someone who has made outstanding contributions to the expressive arts field, to IEATA, the larger community, and who has contributed by educating others about the power of the arts to heal, enliven and deepen our life experience.

In 1997, the IEATA executive co-chairs proposed to the board of directors that we establish an award to honor one of our pioneers who had contributed tremendously to developing the field of expressive arts and had also contributed to the formation and life of our organization. The board vote was unanimous. Everyone felt this was a good idea as we wanted to show our gratitude to those professionals who have inspired us and who had contributed so much volunteer time for IEATA. The second task of deciding on a symbolic name for this award was our next challenge. After much discussion, the board decided on an imagistic name that represented how this person contributed to our field. They were a guiding light inspiring us as we navigate the birth of the field and our organization. So we called this person our “Shining Star”.

Our first Shining Star award was given to Natalie Rogers at our Tornado conference in 1998. At each bi-annual conference, the Shining Star Award is presented to its recipient.  There are other recipients: Anna Halprin, Paolo Knill, Kate Donohue, Jack Weller, Steve and Ellen Levine, Sally Atkins, Anin Utigaard, Maria Gonzalez-Blue and our most recent recipient, Mitchell Kossak.

The award is announced at the conference and is a surprise for the person as well as the membership.

Rising Star Award

New Award offered first time at 2019 IEATA Conference.

This award will be decided by the board with the nominations coming from the membership at large.  It is an award which will go out to an individual who may be young or new to the field but who is demonstrating clear dedication, hard work and commitment to the field of expressive arts therapy, working multi-modally and offering exemplary service to their community.


Stories of Struggle, Community, and Transformation:  An Interactive Theatre Performance featuring the Living Arts Playback Theatre Ensemble


In this unique community event, guided by drama therapist Armand Volkas, audience members are invited to share personal stories, current feelings, and real-life experiences of struggle, community, and transformation. The Ensemble of actors and musicians will immediately create an improvised version of those stories and feelings, in ways that both honor and illuminate the original experience.


lg_playback_2The Living Arts Playback Theatre Ensemble produces public performances, workshops, and events for personal, professional and societal growth in the San Francisco Bay Area. Created in 1986 under the direction of psychotherapist and drama therapist Armand Volkas, The Living Arts Playback Theatre Ensemble, in collaboration with The Healing the Wounds of History Project, has received international recognition for its work in bringing groups in conflict together such as Germans and Jews; Palestinians and Israelis; Japanese, Chinese and Koreans on their legacy of WWII and Armenians and Turks on the legacy of Genocide. At the heart of its work is a profound respect for the power of personal story to build bridges between people and cultures. Visit http://livingartsplayback.org/ to learn more. 

Music, Soul, and Resistance with Maracatu Pacifico

Maracatu Pacífico

This presentation explores the use of music and dance as a vehicle of expression, preservation, and transformation of culture. The act of engaging the body in movement and rhythm is ancient and powerful; it can restore a natural and wholesome way of being with oneself and others. The group Maracatu Pacifico practices traditional Maracatu music and dance that has its roots in Brazil going back to times of colonization and slavery. The music and dance have been preserved throughout generations and carry in its manifestation the meaning of resistance, survival, and transformation; it was through music, dance, and faith that African slaves were able to connect with the richness of their ancestry and resist to the impositions of colonization. The Maracatu songs, drums, and dances honor the African Orixa deities as a way of evoking Soul and Spirit. The practice of the group Maracatu Pacifico does not have a religious dimension. However, the community of musicians and dancers experience their participation as a meaningful and soulful practice. In this workshop, participants will be invited to engage in explorations of body awareness, movement, sound, and rhythm in a collective experience. In the current socio-political reality of the United States, Latin communities are suffering, as immigrant families are being separated, deported, and treated as criminals. Maracatu Pacifico represents Latin-American and Afro-American cultures through music and dance, standing by Latin and African people who struggle today and throughout time. By joining this workshop, participants will be invited to engage their own bodies through movement and rhythm, to honor their own ancestral lineages and possibly tap into the elements of play, joy, and social engagement that music and dance can bring.


large_marabertoBased in West Oakland, Maracatu Pacífico is a community-based performance group that brings Afro-Brazilian music and dance from Northeastern Brazil to the SF Bay Area. Maracatu is a folkloric tradition from the state of Pernambuco, Brazil, with roots going back to the colonial era and the heritage of the enslaved Africans. Its manifestation blends the Indigenous, African, and European cultures of Brazil. While Maracatu Pacifico honors the tradition and roots of the original groups and masters through music and dance, the group does not practice the religious dimension. Its artistic expression contributes to the preservation of this ancestral form of music and dance.