Naropa honored for Art Therapy Program

Naropa honored for Art Therapy program

By Lisa Trank
Posted:   07/06/2012 09:06:52 PM MDT
Updated:   07/06/2012 09:07:26 PM MDT


BOULDER — Naropa University’s nationally-recognized graduate studies Art Therapy program’s Naropa Community Art Studio-International has received a three-year grant from The Jenzabar Foundation, which was presented to the University during Jenzabar’s annual Student Leadership Awards ceremony in Dallas on May 30. The Jenzabar Foundation is dedicated to creating opportunities for students, as well as higher education organizations and non-profits, to encourage fellow students to be engaged citizens of the world.

The Naropa Community Arts Studio received specific attention from the Jenzabar Foundation for its service learning trip to Cambodia to aid and train survivors of sex trafficking. In May 2012, the group of art therapy graduate students and Naropa faculty member Sue Wallingford traveled to Cambodia to learn more about the ways art therapy can be integrated into providing shelter for girl survivors that have been victims of the sex trade. The trip is the culmination of dedicated effort to increase awareness for the mission of the Naropa Community Arts Studio and to raise funds to bring the team of Naropa Art Therapy students and faculty to Cambodia.

“We found Naropa University’s Community Art Studio International program to be very unique in its approach to addressing the needs of those who have suffered from the ills caused by human trafficking,” said John Beahm, The Jenzabar Foundation’s Executive Director. “The Jenzabar Foundation is proud to support the Studio’s application of art therapy to promote social justice, and we look forward to a partnership that will help the program grow to serve other communities with similar needs in the coming years.”

Todd Kilburn, chief administrative officer and interim vice president for business affairs, who accepted the award, said of receiving this important support, “Naropa University is honored to receive this grant from the Jenzabar Foundation in support of the amazing work our students have done under the direction of their professor, Sue Wallingford. Their commitment to human rights and their willingness to invest themselves in making a difference makes this a significant partnership with the Jenzabar Foundation, which seeks to encourage such social entrepreneurship. I express gratitude to Jenzabar’s CEO, Robert A. Maginn, and the executive director of the Jenzabar Foundation, John Beahm, for their personal support and encouragement of the Naropa Community Arts Studio — International and the work being done in Cambodia.”

Naropa faculty Sue Wallingford spoke about the enormity of the work the art therapy students have taken on. “I am reminded of the words of one of my students who spoke to me of the outpouring of support we felt from the community at every turn. ‘This is so much bigger than we are.’ There is a force holding the potential that perhaps we can make a difference in the lives of the people we work with, and in our own lives too. We are very grateful for The Jenzabar Foundation’s support.”

The NCAS-I initiative reflects The Jenzabar Foundation’s mission of efforts by students to better the world outside of their college and university communities. Through the help of the three-year Jenzabar Foundation grant, this project will offer art therapy and training to survivors of sex trafficking in Cambodia.

“The NCAS-I initiative and Cambodia trip is one of a number of student-driven service learning initiatives at Naropa University, and reflective of Naropa’s educational mission, which provides the opportunities for our students to explore, cultivate, and ‘test’ their knowledge and skills in relationship and in vital and challenging work in the international community,” says John Whitehouse Cobb, President of Naropa University. “We are very proud of the transformational work Sue Wallingford and her students are undergoing and providing for a much needed issue. We are honored and grateful that The Jenzabar Foundation is committing this level of support so that this work may continue. “


The Naropa Art Therapy degree concentration, part of the Transpersonal Counseling Psychology program, is approved by the American Art Therapy Association and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Schools and Colleges. The NCAS-I initiative was developed to enhance the experience of art therapist as action-oriented and acutely aware of the socio-cultural concerns of society. NCAS-I and Transitions Global have determined meaningful and practical ways that art therapy practices can be implemented as trainings, interventions, and workshops with Transitions Global staff and participants.

Founded by Jenzabar, Inc., The Jenzabar Foundation issues grants to institutions of higher education and other non-profit organizations with similarly aligned missions, and helps promote the activities of grant recipients within their communities and on a global level. For more information about The Jenzabar Foundation, visit

Naropa University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. Naropa University is a private, nonprofit, nonsectarian liberal arts institution dedicated to advancing contemplative education. This approach to learning integrates the best of Eastern and Western educational traditions, helping students know themselves more deeply and engage constructively with others. The university comprises a four-year undergraduate college and graduate programs in the arts, education, environmental leadership, psychology and religious studies.