NYU Steinhardt’s Ikuko Acosta and Marygrace Berberian are the 2020 recipients of the Rawley Silver Research Award from the American Art Therapy Association.

Last night, at a virtual ceremony, NYU Steinhardt professors Ikuko Acosta and Marygrace Berberian received the American Art Therapy Association’s (AATA) Rawley Silver Research Award – one of the highest honors in clinical art therapy research. The award provides funding for and honors the professors’ work on an exploratory research project called ExplorArtPD. The research assesses the rehabilitative potential of art therapy for people with parkinson’s disease.

“It is humbling to receive this award, named in honor of Dr. Rawley Silver, ” said Marygrace Berberian, clinical assistant professor of art therapy at NYU Steinhardt. “Our profession continues the work of Dr. Silver, recognizing the rehabilitative benefits of art therapy to address the complex challenges of acute and chronic illnesses. Art therapy elicits the vitality in our clients, promoting new dimensions to their existing identities as 'patients'. They accept new perspectives as problem solving artists.”

The research being taken on by Acosta and Berberian is a collaboration with the Marlene and Paolo Fresco Institute for Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders at NYU Langone Medical Center.

Among other findings, the preliminary research results suggest significant improvements in patients’ general motor function and psychosocial wellbeing. The researchers also found that clinical improvements were accompanied by significant changes in brain functional connectivity highlighting a dynamic reorganization of neural networks within the visual system, overall supporting the beneficial role of art therapy in improving perception and clinical function in their patients.

The professors accepted the award virtually during AATA’s annual conference.

AATA is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, nonpartisan, professional, and educational organization dedicated to the growth and development of the art therapy profession. Founded in 1969, the AATA is one of the world’s leading art therapy membership organizations. More information is available at arttherapy.org/.

About the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
Located in the heart of New York City’s Greenwich Village, NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development prepares students for careers in the arts, education, health, media and psychology. Since its founding in 1890, the Steinhardt School's mission has been to expand human capacity through public service, global collaboration, research, scholarship, and practice. To learn more about NYU Steinhardt, visit steinhardt.nyu.edu.

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