Division of Expressive Therapies
Professional Title: Assistant Professor of Art Therapy, Division of Expressive Therapies
Areas of Academic Focus and Expertise: Enhancing the educational experience of students using art therapy.
Area of Work and Concentration at Lesley: Art Therapy
Representative List of Recent Courses Taught: • Research and Evaluation • Principles and Practices of Art Therapy
Education: B.S., Fine Arts, Stonehill College; M.S., Art Therapy/Counseling, The College of New Rochelle; Ph.D., Expressive Therapies, Lesley University
Representative List of Recent Publications / Exhibitions: Chapter in Kerr, C. (2015) Multicultural Family Art Therapy. Identity Formation and Cultural Isolation: An El Salvadorean Family’s Therapeutic Journey.November 2013. Expressive Therapies Summit, New York, NY. Presentation: International Social Action and Art Therapy Education: Benefits and Consequences.January 2013 All Hallows Highs School Parents Association, Bronx, NY. Presentation: The Agony and the Ecstasy of Adolescence.January 2012. North American Drama Therapy Association, New Haven CT. Presentation: Playing to the Audience: Trauma Dynamics and the Complexity of Race and Color.December 2012. South Bronx Classical Charter School, Bronx, NY. Presentation: Raising Morally Conscious Children: Teaching through Example: Implementing Effective Parenting Style and Self Care. May 2012. The College of New Rochelle Graduate Assembly, New Rochelle, NY. Presentation: Social Action-Art Therapy:An International Therapeutic Experience in Nicaragua. Co-Presenters, Deborah Brass, Elizabeth Youngs.February 2000 Juvenile Justice Conference: Restoring, Reclaiming, Rebuilding. Overland Park, Kansas National Youth Advocate Program, Inc. Presentation: Phototherapy Outreach: Photo-therapy with elementary school children labeled as at-risk of dropping out of school by the Brockton District Attorney. Co-Presenters, Prof. Maryjean Viano Crowe, Justin Vuylsteke.
Fun Facts: Traveled to Nicaragua, Dominican Republic and India providing art therapy services in underprivileged and marginalized communities.
Born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, Kelvin Ramirez has constantly felt like an observer of life rather than a participant. In 1987, his family moved to the South Bronx where he began to develop a love for artistic expression. Through poetry and visual arts Kelvin began to explore his own cultural dynamics within the world’s political arena. He attended All Hallows High School in the South Bronx where he began to think rather than believe. Continuing his education, he attended Stonehill College in North Easton, Massachusetts, where he majored in Fine Arts.While at Stonehill, Kelvin extended his education outside of its pristine campus and traveled to Peru and Cuba. In Peru he worked alongside individuals living in Canto Grande, an impoverished desert city on the outskirts of Lima. Human suffering became real on a scale he had never before experienced. While studying in La Universidad de la Habana, in Cuba, he watched art emerge from the desperation of the human spirit, witnessed political ideology take life, and observed individual integrity triumph over material consumption.These experiences merged with those from the Dominican Republic and the South Bronx created an awareness that the realities of the human family–hope, fear, and hardship–were common threads woven into the tapestry of our collective conscious, and allowed for the discovery of his true passion: Art Therapy and Fine Arts.Kelvin attended The College of New Rochelle where he completed the Master’s Degree Program in Art Therapy and Counseling. Required to work with several clinical populations and partake in an intensive therapeutic process, Kelvin’s definition of art was challenged. It was no longer the intellectual preconceived form of forced content, but rather a visceral interpretation of what was already within. Kelvin has completed a doctorate program in Expressive Therapies at Lesley University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Lesley University’s core values include democracy, inquiry, equity and community. These values are embodied in action that expand the understanding of its students and inspire them to create a more just, humane, and sustainable world. For Kelvin Ramirez, this is an essential component in the development of compassionate art therapists who are empowered to advocate for the communities they serve. It is in this spirit that in 2013, Kelvin led a group of graduate art therapy students from New York into Villa Caoba, an impoverished community in the city of La Romana, Dominican Republic. Working with a local foundation and community leaders, the group of 20 students, a dietician and three supervising art therapists were able to provide art therapy services and meals to over 220 children and diabetes testing to over 130 adults. In 2012, Kelvin organized a similar experience which took students to Nicaragua where art therapist volunteered in a special needs school providing a range of services. Kelvin is in the process of forming a nonprofit art therapy based organization that focuses on international collaboration and student development.Art serves as a therapeutic vessel for self-awareness, personal growth, and integration of human duality, and is forever found itself at the center of human contemplation, protest, and discovery. Art is the manifestation of what we truly believe and has shaped his teaching philosophy. There was a time when education guaranteed economic success and stability. As unemployment rises, many college educated individuals find themselves without work and in many cases without hope or the possibility of employment in their chosen profession. When Kelvin became a teacher in 2001, he witnessed firsthand the changing social landscape and the contradictory nature of education. At times, he observed many of the prejudices and social injustices that plague our community reinforced in the classroom. As a father and a teacher he was called to action and began a personal journey of self-discovery, reexamining my own ideologies and there place in this new social and economic climate. As educators we are entrusted with ensuring that students learn the fundamental concepts outlined in our course curricula. But this philosophy in my opinion is contradictory to what education should be and was in the past. As course content evolves and new truths are discovered our goals should be to foster an academic environment that values and respects a scholarly pursuit of knowledge and the desire to move the discussion forward. It has been my goal as a life-long learner, educator and a father to my young son, to move beyond the material and foster critical thinking, inspiring students to work effectively, ethically and collaboratively developing problem solving skills that are necessary in our information age.Art therapy by its very nature is a transformative discipline. Those inspired to pursue careers in the therapeutic arts have a responsibility to look deeply within themselves and their relationship to the world around them. Aspiring art therapist, must understand that their career goals places them within a powerful intersection of fostering the development of a healthy individual and advocating for those marginalized member of our communities. Art therapist, are not confined to classrooms, studios, schools, or medical facilities, they are social activists, fighting for a more equitable society through their work.Kelvin believes that it is his responsibility is to create an academic environment where students understand that collective mission, for him to mature as an educator and for the student to develop as a learner. That mutual growth is accomplished by engaging students with a range of theoretical viewpoints from pioneering academics, which allow students the opportunity to discuss, disagree and develop their unique opinions while grounding those opinions in scholarly research. In order for learning to be truly meaningful it must move toward application and action. One of the greatest rewards of teaching, in Kelvin’s opinion, is rooted in the interactions with the varied perspectives students bring into the classroom. More importantly, teaching and learning, with enthusiasm and empathy reinforces the professional relationship required for mutual academic growth. As a result, teaching with clarity, passion, empathy, and sincere enthusiasm, effectively impacts learners, ultimately connecting them to their ‘passion.’ Teaching is important, because it is through this act of service, that people are prepared to direct their destinies and author their stories. It is a profession that entrusts educators with the malleable minds of the future a task that often leaves educators feeling overworked and undervalued. It is in those times of exhaustion that Kelvin holds fast to the unwavering ideals that brought him to education. The ideals that social injustices can only be remedied by an educated populous, that an educated mind is a mind called into action for the betterment of all human kind and that through educating our future generations, my positive influence on the world will continue long after we expire.
Expressive Arts Therapy
Ph.D. in Expressive Therapies
Graduate Certificate in Expressive TherapiesGraduate Certificate of Professional Studies in Play Therapy
Graduate Certificate in the Arts in Health
Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study in Expressive Therapies
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