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Second Lady’s FSU Visit Promoting Art Therapy Draws Protesters

October 18th, 2017 by Jake Stofan
Karen Pence, Second Lady of the United States was in the state capital Wednesday.
She was at Florida State University to promote art therapy, but protesters on campus say her husbands stances on other issues overshadow her passion.
The Second Lady says she has only one focus while in Washington:  To shine the light on art therapy.
It’s relatively obscure field, with only an estimated 6,000 practicing therapists nationwide.
However, it has a wide range of uses from helping people cope with post traumatic stress, to assisting those with autism.
“Art therapy is a mental health profession. it is not arts and crafts,” said Pence.
The Second Lady kicked off her campaign to bolster the art therapy profession at FSU.
The university is home to one of the country’s most prestigious art therapy programs.
“Here’s an opportunity, here’s a chance for us to become a house hold term, for people to understand what art therapy means,” said Chair of FSU’s Department of Art Education, Dave Gussak.
The goal is to recruit more professionals like Jordyn Dooley.
She’s one of 30 FSU students pursuing a Masters degree in Art Therapy.
“I think it’s great that she’s trying to inform people that it is a clinical field that’s psychologically based and has research basis and that it can help people. All people,” said Dooley.
Despite the relatively noncontroversial reason for Pence’s visit, both protesters and supporters gathered outside the venue.
“Art therapy is wonderful, but again it’s not okay to ignore the rest of what she’s doing,” said protestor Cassandra White. “Especially the fact they [Karen and Mike Pence] also believe in conversion therapy.”
College Republicans came to balance out the protesters’ presence.
“We heard about this counter-protest over here,” said Josheph Wolski, an FSU student siding with Pence’s supporters. “We just wanted to make sure she knew that that was not representative of the entire Florida State community and that she had support here.”
The Second lady also met with art therapists at an eating disorder clinic before leaving the state capital.
To keep track of the Second Lady’s art therapy campaign, follow her on Twitter, @SecondLady.
To learn more about art therapy you can visit arttherapy.org.
Vice President Mike Pence will be in Orlando for a Republican Party event on November 2nd.

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