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Help Launch the Art Therapy BIPOC Student Scholarship

Raised toward our $5,000 Goal
23 Donors
Project has ended
Project ended on October 24, at 12:30 AM PDT
Project Owners

Help Launch the Art Therapy BIPOC Student Scholarship

In celebration of our department's 40th anniversary, LMU's Marital and Family Therapy program with specialized training in art therapy is launching a fundraiser for a BIPOC student scholarship, which will also honor of Dr. Debra Linesch's retirement. This scholarship will be offered to students such as Black, indigenous, and other people of color, who are striving to become clinical art therapists and come from underrepresented communities. Art therapy is a growing mental health profession that supports people through life transitions with the use of active artmaking, creative process, applied psychological theory, and human experience within a psychotherapeutic relationship. 

Marriage and Family Therapy faculty and staff 


Why is this scholarship important? 

Increasing access to art therapy education programs requires an active campaign to reach students of all income levels and cultural backgrounds, specifically Black, indigenous, and people of color. Offering scholarships in art therapy education programs could increase diverse clinicians and support disenfranchised students so that they feel inclusion in a field that continues to strive in going beyond being a mainly homogenous, dominant culture in a monolithic society. We cannot treat the whole person without acknowledging their lived experience and the challenges that impede them from becoming successful students. 

Why are we creating this scholarship now?

Our department must reflect the change we want to see in the larger systems we navigate, both academically and professionally. Our efforts are to raise funds to establish the scholarship while also exceeding our threshold to sustain the scholarship for years to come. This scholarship will provide resources that students can use towards the myriad of different costs that come with pursuing education -- from tuition and books to housing and food. Your support today helps students bring their full and best selves to learning how to serve through art. 

As a BIPOC individual myself, if there was an opportunity for me to receive additional funds towards my education, it would mean the world. As the first in my family to receive higher or any education in the United States, cost and overall funding is my top priority above all else. A scholarship would definitely ease the weight off of any students shoulders but for BIPOC individuals who are typically less likely to pursue higher education due to fund restrictions: It could mean the difference between one more BIPOC therapist in the field or not. -- Neishamia Kayizzi '25 (them/their)

**Self-portrait above by Neishamia Kayizzi '25

About Dr. Linesch 

Dr. Linesch, Japan 2015 

Debra Linesch, Ph.D., LMFT, ATR-BC has been a visionary faculty member at LMU for over three decades. During her 30-plus years at LMU, Dr. Linesch has steered the graduate department of Marital and Family Therapy with specialized training in clinical art therapy toward excellence and inclusivity. Inheriting a leadership role in the program as a young professor, she dedicated herself to sustaining the centrality of the visual arts in the curriculum, to expanding community engagement and to addressing issues of diversity.  She retires after mentoring new leaders to manage the program’s illustrious future.    

In her early years at LMU, when the MFT program stood outside the college system, Dr. Linesch reported directly to the academic vice present and learned how to work within the institution without the support of a dean.  She participated in what was then known as the Graduate Council and worked tirelessly to find resources for graduate education in a primarily undergraduate culture.  She focused on promotion and public awareness of art therapy and saw the numbers of applicants to the program grow annually. In recent years, following the relocation of the program into the LMU College of Communication and Fine Arts, Dr. Linesch worked with Deans Barbara Busse and Bryant Alexander in establishing the academically excellent, clinically strong and well-reputed training program that exists today.  

Dr. Linesch’s visionary contributions sustained the program’s reputation as a nationally recognized leader, focusing on growth in research and issues of equity as primary efforts. She developed the Art Therapy in Mexico program, an annual opportunity for students to expand their clinical identities by situating themselves in another culture during their training. She also developed a collaboration with Universidad Iberoamericana, the Jesuit unviersity in Mexico City. Additionally, she instituted community-based learning, augmenting the courses she taught with field work at Dolores Mission Parish in East LA and at Juvenile Hall. 

Dr. Linesch has advocated for diversity, equity and inclusion.  Her long held hope has been to offer increased scholarship opportunities for BIPOC students. Your gift to the BIPOC Art Therapy Student Scholarship will help make such funding a reality. 

Artwork by Melle Torchez




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Students will travel to client sites for experiential education and your gift helps them get that hands on learning.


Mental Health Support

Our students will learn to support people going through extremely difficult times in life. Your gift helps them make sure the students are in the best space to support others through art therapy.


Art Supplies & Books

Your gift provides the ability to have the best tools to learn.



Your gift helps students pay for housing, making space for studying and creative endeavors as they work towards their degree.


Tuition Support

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