Board Members


Rory O’Neill Schmitt, MPS, ATR-BC- President Rory O’Neill Schmitt is an art therapist, art educator, and artist. She believes in the power of art as a catalyst for self-expression and self-exploration. As a board-certified art therapist, she has worked with youth and adults in rehabilitation programs. As a current doctoral student in Curriculum and Instruction Studies at Arizona State University, Rory is studying Art Education. Focusing her studies in museums, she has experience both as an educator and curator. In 2011, she co-curated the ASU Art Museum’s family art exhibition, Words of Art. Prior to moving to Phoenix, Rory worked at museums and galleries in New York and California, such as the International Center for Photography, Cristinerose Gallery, Visual Arts Gallery, and the San Diego Chinese Historical Society and Museum. In addition, she is a fine art photographer who has exhibited her work in New York and Los Angeles, and has published her photography in print and online.


“I have served on the AzATA board as a General Board member since 2011. I have enjoyed being a part of a team working on events, educational outreach, and workshops.In my term as President of AzATA, I would like to offer educational workshops quarterly in Tucson and Phoenix. I would also like to present a symposium of art therapy research that would provide useful information to current practitioners in the field. Additionally, I would like to support AzATA in providing networking opportunities for art therapists in Arizona.”


Sally Markey, MA, LPC, ATR- Vice President/President Elect“I earned my Master’s in Fine Art in Art Therapy from The School of The Art Institute of Chicago in 1998. I became a licensed professional Counselor in the State of Arizona in 2004, where my licensing remains current. Having over 10 years experience as an Art Therapist I have primarily worked with children and families although I have enjoyed working with many different populations. My background varies in a range of settings including out-patient clinics, domestic-abuse agencies and hospital settings. I am currently in the process of applying for my ATR and establishing my own private practice.”

“While serving as Vice President, I hope to support membership experience with AzATA and increase AzATA’s networking strategies within its community. I will purpose a forum of communication where Art Therapists in Arizona may dialogue with each other about their practice, community resources and developmental proposals. I will emphasize the importance of strengthening communication opportunities so AzATA members can more productively and successfully reach their professional goals.”

IMG_2982 Joyous D. Thayer, MA, LAC- Chapter Delegate Joy has been a member of the AzATA board since 2010 when she joined as Student Liaison. She received her Masters in Counseling Psychology and Expressive Arts Therapy from Prescott College. She has 3 years of combined professional and educational experience, which includes providing therapy services to children with trauma, using a neuro-developmental framework, in groups and individual sessions. She currently works families and children, and primarily facilitates children’s art therapy groups for ages 7-17 with varying needs. She is also working to acquire her Professional level license as a Counselor and  is in the application process for registration as an Art Therapist.

“As Chapter Delegate of AzATA I hope to support the association to remain in contact with AATA and it’s other national chapters. I look forward to coordinating with our colleagues to advance national and local endeavors including advocating for local art therapy licensure. I will do as I have done before and represent AzATA as a voting member at AATA business meetings and in governmental affairs committee meetings, while attending the national conference. I will also continue to support the regular operations of AzATA, furthering the sustainability and longevity of the organization.”


Gail Ferens, MA, ATR-BC- Treasurer

Gail Ferens has worked as a counselor and art therapist with individuals, children, adolescents, families, and groups since 1984. She worked for Salem, Oregon Public Schools for 15 years prior to joining the Marylhurst University staff as Instructor in the Graduate Art Therapy Program and going into private practice. She joined Willamette Valley Counseling (A State Certified Mental Health Agency) in 1988 and continued until June of 1995. For the past 15 years her work has focused on assisting clients to utilize “the arts” as tools to access inner wisdom, find meaning, wholeness and balance. Her work concentrates on growth of the mind, the heart, and the spirit. She currently offers supervision for Post Graduates working toward their ATR.

Gail continues to support the AzATA board in her role as Treasurer, providing support and planning for AzATA’s fiscal decisions.

Danielle Moss, MA, ATR-BC- General Board Member

Dani graduated from Seton Hill University, Greensburg, PA with her Masters in Art Therapy with Specialization in Counseling and has 9 years of art therapy and behavioral health experience. She has worked with children and adults with developmental disabilities, at risk adolescent males in a residential wilderness therapy program, and with children and families in both in-home and outpatient settings. Dani is currently a child therapist at Marana Health Center, an outpatient community service provider which integrates medical and behavioral health, where she provides art therapy and counseling to individuals, families and groups. She enjoys exploring the Arizona hiking trails, knitting, and creating art.

“While serving as Membership Coordinator I hope to manage members’ membership status and contact information, help to keep members informed of meetings and events, and help direct members when they are in need of contacting someone from the board. I plan to be a welcoming contact person for all those interested in AzATA and assist them in joining our organization with the hopes to maintain interest and active participation in the Art Therapy Community.”

    Suzy-Deigan Suzy Deigan, M.S. – General Board Member- I am interested in becoming a general board member of AzATA. I am currently employed as an art therapist at PSA Art Awakenings in Tucson, AZ, working with children and adolescents with behavioral and emotional issues, trauma, and mental illness. My previous experience also includes working with the adult clients at Art Awakenings; geriatric populations, including dementia patients; adults and adolescents in a residential psychiatric hospital; and adults and adolescents with developmental disabilities. I received my BA in Fine Arts at Southwest University of Visual Arts (Formerly known as the Art Center Design College) in Tucson. I then went to receive my M.S. in Art Therapy Counseling at the College of New Rochelle in New Rochelle, NY. Currently, I am working towards obtaining my ATR credentials and will be applying for it in January 2014, once I complete my remaining direct client contact hours and supervision hours. I am interested in joining AzATA because I would like to become more involved in the association and also meet and work with more art therapists. I think it’s important for art therapists to network and communicate with each other to share experiences, insight, resources, and support.
Emily Weiss, MA- Secretary –

Emily Weiss has a BFA from the University of Arizona and a certificate in Early Childhood Education from Pima Community College. Emily and graduated in May 2014 with a Masters of Science in Counseling with a Specialization in Clinical Mental Health Counseling and Expressive Arts Therapist s from Prescott College. Emily worked for three years at the Easter Seals Blake Foundation Children’s Achievement Center and is currently interning with the Easter Seals Blake Foundation New Visions for Families and with the Children’s behavior health team at Marana Health Center. Emil has pervious experience interning with CODAC Behavioral Health and Mother’s Oasis. Emily’s experience and interests includes working the fields of additions, CPS/Foster/Adoptive families, birth to five, prenatal and postpartum mood and anxiety disorders, medical family therapy, photography, fiber arts, and mixed media. Emily is also currently working on her capstone project, which includes a fibers arts based art therapy group for pregnant women experiencing anxiety and depression.


Emily has served as the student liaison for the past two years with AzATA and if electing into the secretary position, Emily hopes to maintain communication for the chapter with individuals and organizations, and create organized, clear, and concise minute notes for all AzATA board meetings, and keep AzATA’s digital documents organized. Emily s also excited for the prospect of creating an Art Therapy License in the state of Arizona and hopes to continue to help AzATA through this process.


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