Adult Programs

From Gloom to Grin: Managing Eco-Anxiety through Art

Please join the waiting list here

From Gloom to Grin: Managing Eco-Anxiety through Art
Saturday, March 2, 2024, 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm 

Does current talk about the climate crisis make you anxious? Does it all feel a bit overwhelming? You're not alone. "Eco-anxiety" is real, and in this workshop, we invite you to explore managing those feelings through art. Join us, take the opportunity to chat with others who may be experiencing similar feelings, and complete creative exercises – guided by professional art therapists – to help you in dealing with them.

Using art to heal from collective traumas is a theme highlighted in ROM's online exhibition Aftershocks: Japanese Earthquake Prints, and this workshop ties in to that theme by using examples from historical and contemporary Japanese art. Akiko Takesue, Bishop White Committee Associate Curator of Japanese Art & Culture at ROM, will talk about the prints of catfish artwork (namazu-e) in the online exhibition, which helped Japanese people make sense of the 1855 Edo earthquake. She’ll be followed by contemporary Japanese artist Yuta Niwa, who will talk about how he uses the catfish motif in his work that responds to more recent natural disasters in Japan.

This program includes brief talks about Japanese art, a gallery tour with Soren Brothers, ROM’s Allan and Helaine Shiff Curator of Climate Change, art therapy activities, and facilitated small group conversations.

Note: Part of the program will be presented in Japanese, with translation provided.

This program is co-presented by ROM and The Japan Foundation, Toronto for the online exhibition Aftershocks: Japanese Earthquake Prints.


Yuta Niwa

Japanese artist Yuta Niwa working on a painting. Photo credit Art News Japan.

Painter. While using the context, materials, and techniques of Japanese-style painting, he creates works focusing on the history where invisible calamity or irresistible forces have been understood as "something black" in Japan. After completing the graduate degree in painting at Kyoto University of the Arts in 2019, he studied in Beijing until 2020. He is currently living and working at Komyo-in of Tofukuji Temple in Kyoto. Recent major exhibitions include: Golden Fight of Gods at Art Collaboration Kyoto (2023); Chimera Epidemic (2023); Midtown Award 2021; Namazu no Komyo (Ingenious/ Bright Light of Catfish) (2021); Yanbaru Art Festival (2020-2021); and Art Award Marunouchi 2019.

Full Circle Art Therapy Centre

Full Circle Art Therapy

Full Circle is an organization that provides a safe space for people in need of mental health support, by helping them heal through creative processes.

Ashtyn Ford

Photo of art therapist Ashtyn Ford

Ashtyn Ford is one of the Co-founders of an Art Therapy Clinic in Toronto called “Full Circle- Art Therapy Centre,” which has been in operation since 2014. Full Circle-Art Therapy Centre’s mission is to provide affordable mental health support to different communities in the GTA through Art Therapy services.

Ashtyn is a Registered Art Therapist & Registered Psychotherapist.  They provide one-on-one and group support through art therapy, mindfulness and somatic therapy interventions.  They specialize working with people who have experienced abuse and trauma as well as folks who deal with common mental health struggles like anxiety and depression.  Ashtyn believes that everyone is resilient and has the ability to heal and grow.

Mafalda Silva

Photo of art therapist Mafalda Silva

Mafalda completed a graduate diploma in Art Therapy (Master level program) at the Toronto Art Therapy Institute. She is a Registered Psychotherapist, member of the College of Registered Psychotherapists of Ontario (CRPO) and a professional member of the Canadian Art Therapy Association (CATA).

Mafalda has had the privilege of facilitating art therapy groups for adults, all gender identities, from diverse cultural backgrounds, at several community mental health agencies. From her experience facilitating trauma-informed groups, she has witnessed the transformative experience groups can have on connection, compassion, acceptance, and sense of belonging. Participants sharing lived experiences and inner wisdom is an invaluable resource which makes the group process so meaningful and powerful. As a facilitator, her hope is to create a space where we can all co-create relationships that value compassion, honesty, and respect, where individuals can share without judgment, and we can be curious together in a safe environment that inspires individuals to create their path to wellness. The groups she facilitates focus on engaging in artmaking and in reflective practices, learning from each other and promoting mutual support, and sharing healthy coping skills that might be helpful on your journey.

Akiko Takesue

Akiko Takesue

Akiko Takesue is ROM’s Bishop White Committee Associate Curator of Japanese Art & Culture. She is responsible for researching and developing ROM’s collection of Japanese art and culture, numbering approximately 10,000 objects and ranging in date from the archaeology of the Jōmon period (10,000–300 BCE) to the present day.

Dr. Takesue received her Ph.D. in Art History and Visual Culture from York University, Toronto.  She has broad curatorial experience in museums in Australia, Canada, and the U.S., from researching the Japanese collections to curating permanent galleries and special exhibitions of Japanese art. Most recently, she was a co-curator for the exhibition Obsession: Sir William Van Horne’s Japanese Ceramics, held at the Gardiner Museum in Toronto and the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts (MMFA) from 2018 to 2020. She is currently building and planning a vision for the new Prince Takamado Gallery of Japan at ROM.

Soren Brothers

Soren Brothers

Dr. Soren Brothers is the Allan and Helaine Shiff Curator of Climate Change at the ROM.  He is also an Assistant Professor at the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at the University of Toronto. Soren’s research examines the effects of climate change on lakes, and how changes in aquatic systems can influence their greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere. More broadly, he is interested in understanding how feedback loops and the transdisciplinary study of lakes can help us better understand and predict global tipping points that may accelerate anthropogenic climate change.

Born in Mississauga and raised in Toronto, Soren has worked on lakes in a diverse array of environments around the world, including the Nunavut tundra, Quebec’s boreal forests, and the Great Lakes. He is leading a Global Lakes Ecological Observatory Network initiative to improve understanding of the widespread greenhouse gas impacts of desiccation. He is also passionate about science communication and community outreach and organized a climate change workshop at the United Nations Civil Society Conference in 2019. Before beginning at the ROM in 2021 he was an Assistant Professor of Limnology at Utah State University, and a CREATE program manager and postdoctoral fellow at the University of Guelph, focusing on multiple stressors and cumulative effects in the Great Lakes.

More Conversations


Reserve Tickets

Sorry, this event is sold out.

Date & Time

Event date: Saturday, March 2, 2024 2:00pm EST

Registration starts: Thursday, February 8, 2024 10:00am EST


RBC Glassroom
Level 4
Doors Open 1:30 pm

Public: $35.00
ROM Members: $32.00

Queen's Park Entrance ►