Bonnie A. Berkowitz has been practicing Art Therapy since 1978. After 33 years of public service, she retired from Richard Hall Community Mental Health Center, in Somerset County, NJ, where she worked for 22 years in the ALLIES Adolescent Intensive Outpatient Program, after developing and supervising the art therapy internship program. Currently, Bonnie is a half-time instructor at Caldwell University, in the Masters in Counseling Program with a specialization in Art Therapy. She also practices privately in her Clinton, New Jersey office.
Bonnie received her Master of Arts degree in Fiber Studio from Montclair State University in 1988. From 1992-97, Bonnie served as President of the Garden State Art Therapy Association and helped to transform it into the 501.3C, New Jersey Art Therapy Association (NJATA), as affiliated with the national American Art Therapy Association. Bonnie received the 2001 Clinicians’ Award, recognition for her 23 years of work with Adolescents, from the American Art Therapy Association, and in the fall of 2002, received a Distinguished Service Award and Honorary Life Membership from the New Jersey Art Therapy Association.
Other awards include, a small grant that was received in 2000, from Puppeteers of America, to work with a summer program for emotionally disturbed adolescents, the 2003 Crafts Fellowship awarded from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, for her beaded and embroidered one of a kind art objects. Because of this generous fellowship, Bonnie began to attend and study puppetry at the O’Neill National Puppetry Theater Conference in that same year. Up until that time, Bonnie had created puppets as art forms, yet once she learned about the puppet’s application to the live stage, she was able to increase her knowledge, skills and to develop as an amateur puppeteer. Bringing puppets to life throughout the next six years, led her to receive an Emerging Artist position at the O’Neill National Puppetry Conference in 2009, when Bonnie was selected to write, direct and workshop a segment from her first short play.
Bonnie continues her involvement with the NJATA, and has served to develop a Public Service Announcement film to educate the public about Art Therapy and its efficacies. The PSA was first launched in October 2013, while a longer version was released in the summer of 2014, which includes puppets and a small ensemble, under Bonnie’s direction. In 2011, Bonnie directed, collaborated and wrote “The Comfort Zone, a 25 minute puppet theater piece, its theme based on the right/left side of the brain, where a scientist and artist realize that despite their differences, they are very much the same. She worked alongside her art therapy students and was grateful for support from art therapy and puppeteer colleagues, such as Cindy Nelson and Mary Nagler.
Bonnie’s most significant artistic influences are credited to her ten years of participation with New Jersey State Council of Art’s Artist/Teachers’ Institute (ATI), (1984-1994), and with The National Puppetry Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Connecticut, (2003-2011), and most recent, participation in Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes’s, Mysterium: Psychology in the Truest Sense, a 5 day Jungian/dream work/fairytale intensive. Bonnie has exhibited her artwork throughout the USA and internationally. Most notable shows include The New Jersey Arts Annual Crafts Exhibitions, the 2003 Fellowship Exhibition at The State Museum, Trenton,NJ and solo exhibition and retrospect at the Hunterdon Art Museum. Noted group exhibitions include Savaria Museum, Szambathe, Hungary, The Wacoal Gallery in Tokyo, Japan, The Tropan Museum, Holland and at The Museum of Art and Design, in New York City. Bonnie has published work in Working with Images: the Art of Art Therapy, 500 Beaded Objects, 500 Handmade Books, and Fables of La Fontaine. Bonnie has performed short puppet pieces at the O’Neill Theater, in Niantic, Connecticut, The Tank Theater in NYC, The George Street Playhouse, Cloud Cottage, Black Mountain, NC, and Caldwell College, NJ. Bonnie continues to teach “Collaborative Puppetry” with group workshop settings, and to deepen her knowledge as she pursues to combine her visual art making within the world of the puppet and the choreography of the puppeteer.
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