Deaths: Harriet Wadeson

Harriet Wadeson, founder of two university art therapy programs, died Jan. 26 after a long illness.

Wadeson, a practicing therapist, founded a master’s degree program in art therapy at UIC in 1980 and directed it until she retired in 2003.

One of the first art therapy programs in the Midwest, it was noted for its emphasis on experiential learning. Students completed two internships at Chicago-area hospitals, senior-citizen daycare facilities, and social service agencies. Throughout its 24-year history, the program graduated 240 art therapists.

Wadeson also was a full-time faculty member at UIC and taught many art therapy courses. In 1985 she established an auxiliary program, the UIC Annual Art Therapy Summer Institute, in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. It offered elective courses for UIC students and training for art therapists from around the country.

After retiring from UIC, Wadeson donated her archives, the Harriet Wadeson Papers, 1971-2003, to the UIC Daley Library. An Evanston resident, she went on to direct a certificate program in art therapy at Northwestern University in the School of Continuing Studies (now the School of Professional Studies).

Wadeson served on the board of the American Art Therapy Association and as associate of its journal, Art Therapy. She was named an honorary life member.

Wadeson wrote eight books on art therapy and more than 70 articles in professional journals. She spoke, taught, presented papers, conducted workshops and led professional delegations in 14 countries throughout Europe and Asia.

She received an award for art from the Smithsonian Institution, a distinguished faculty award from Northwestern University, and a resolution of commendation from the Illinois Legislature.

Wadeson is survived by her partner, Neena Schwartz.

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