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Honored to Amplify: TherapART


“Everyone needs to release the things they hold onto, and everyone goes about how they do that a little differently. When I dance, it helps me let go of the trauma that the outside world really can’t see.” 


For TherapART founder, Ashley Rucker, movement has always served as an outlet for expressing and moving through the various challenges that life can bring. Whether it was the end of a marriage or watching her brother navigate addiction, Ash has always leaned on movement to change her mental and physical well-being for the better. As she experienced incredible improvements in her own life, she knew this practice was something she wanted and needed to share with her community in the hopes of helping others to improve their lives as well.   

For many years TherapART existed only as a dream for Ash who admittedly experienced a lot of doubt about whether or not the dream would become a reality. “What was it actually? What did it mean? What was I supposed to do with this idea that I had? For years I had doubts, shame, and fear. Fear about what people would think of me for ‘dancing crazy’ and how I might be perceived. I had fears about sharing the things I had gone through.” Ultimately Ash found the courage to continue forward and TherapART became a reality. Ash states, “This body of work is about every single person who has ever experienced pain, trauma, joy, and anger. This is for every person who desires release. I define magic as creating and becoming something bigger than ourselves”.  

Girl Climbing Rock
Guy climbing rock



TherapART is a not-for-profit community that curates and facilitates art therapy initiatives across New York City (and growing). Their core mission is to connect people with their soul; to celebrate and drive positive conversation around art therapy and its ability to amplify and heal unheard voices. 


How does TherapART work? 

TherapART is something you must experience for yourself to fully understand. It can’t really be defined because each session is designed to be unique to the people who attend. The only constant is having music playing to start conversation between the group, accompanied by words and/or movement. Ashley tells us that by showing up fully as herself, she opens up space for others to feel free to do the same for themselves—and that’s where the magic of TherapART happens. 

Girl Climbing Rock
Guy climbing rock


We hear a lot of people say, “I’m not creative.” which Ashley Rucker responds, “BS”. Regardless of our different talents, abilities, backgrounds, jobs, personalities etc. everyone has a creative side and more importantly, a story to tell. When we go through our days without a consistent outlet of expression whether that’s working out, dancing around the living room like a wild thing, or painting murals, a part of us is being smothered. Ash believes we were born to create and express ourselves; to release the buildup of life’s many ups and downs. For her, creativity is essential to the foundation of sustainable wellness. 


Girl Climbing Rock
Guy climbing rock

Photos by Shana Jade Trajanokska

In addition to the work that TherapART does for her broader community, Ash also provides a 16-week program that is centered around helping incarcerated youth and works to fundamentally turn their lives around by providing them with the help and support that they need. Ashley is their coach, their teacher, and their friend. She is there to listen but also give them the tools necessary to live a healthy and fulfilling life on their own two feet. She also uses the program to instill the power of movement and artwork into their lives. This gives the kids a tangible way to cope with the traumatic things they experience daily. 


Girl Climbing Rock
Guy climbing rock

Photos by Mansura Khanam

We’re incredibly moved by everything Ashley does day in and day out and her dedication to changing the world through wellness through movement and self-expression. We can’t wait to see TherapART continue to expand and change the world. To learn more head over to the TherapART website or check out this beautiful short film. 


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