Art Law for Art Therapists–Creating Awareness

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Thurman, Patrick
Master of Arts in Art Therapy
Art law has direct implications on the practice of art therapy. Art law provides protection to artists in the art therapy process. If the art therapist was not aware of the protective elements provided by art law, he or she may violate the tenants of art law when managing their clients’ artwork. This research study explored the protective elements of art law while explaining how these elements applied to art therapy. This study also examined whether art therapists were knowledgeable about art law and how they use this information within their practice. Art law, an aspect of civil law, has direct implications on the practice of art therapy. Less-known and with few legal practitioners, art law provides protection to artists, art therapists, and art images. Issues of attribution, integrity, storage, destruction and copying of art images have a direct bearing on therapeutic alliances (Malchiodi, 1995; Malchiodi & Johnson, 2013). With clear appreciation and understanding of moral rights regarding creative processes, artists, art therapists, and images can benefit from the protective elements of art law tenants and practices (DuBoff & King, 2006; Lazerow, 2015). The knowledge of art law as part of art therapy and therapeutic services may increase regulatory compliance and promotion of a positive ethical approach in management of client artwork (Simon, 2001). Examination of current art law knowledge and practice is addressed through survey data obtained as an outcome of a review of art therapy informed consent agreements and art therapist interviews.