The Artplay Way:
Artplay uses art-making to encourage open verbal sharing while creating, or art as the expression itself. We use traditional art supplies (paints, pastels, pencils, large paper, canvas), as well as sensory supplies (play dough, clay, water beads, slime, instant snow), or building supplies (glue, wood pieces, rope, boxes, cardboard tubes), to give kids options for how they want to express themselves. While the creation is happening, we do direct check-ins about your child’s home, school and extracurricular lives, as well as the main concern that brought them to Artplay. We also talk about what they are creating and why, as often the art becomes a tool for helping kids feel less anxious.
“Kids cannot be sat down on a couch and asked important questions about their lives. They need to be engrossed in creating something fantastic because this is what helps them express how they feel.” – Liz Tomko, Owner
Artplay offers individual and sibling sessions for kids, social groups, academic tutoring, parent coaching, as well as naturopathic help. Here are bios for all of our helpers:
Liz Tomko – Owner of Artplay (Leads individual sessions and social groups)
Master’s Degree in Counseling with a Specialty in Expressive Arts Therapy, B.A. in Fine Arts
Liz Tomko saw that there was a gap in expressive art services for kids in Phoenix, Arizona. In 2010, she decided to change that by opening Artplay, a safe place for kids to explore their feelings through art-making and sensory play in a non-clinical setting.
Liz found inspiration for her calling while growing up in the outback of Australia. Her local high school art teacher told Liz to one day become an Art Therapist, as she was naturally helping fellow students process their emotions through their art. Liz moved back to the U.S. and earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA) at Texas Tech in 1997. She then moved to Arizona, where she worked as a graphic designer for 10 years. At that point, Liz took the sound advice of her outback art teacher and received her Master of Arts in Professional Counseling (MAPC) with a Specialty in Expressive Arts Therapy at Ottawa University in Phoenix. This degree enables Liz to help kids through the use of all forms of art. Liz asserted her independence and founded Artplay in 2010. She continually grows Artplay by expanding services in order to help as many kids in the community as possible.
Becky Goudy (Leads individual and sibling sessions, plus social dyads/triads)
Master’s Degree in Professional Counseling, B.A. in Psychology
Becky Goudy has been empowering the lives of her clients for 15 years, initially at a local agency, and now at Artplay for the last six years. Becky enjoys advocating for her clients needs with parents and schools alike. She believes in helping kids feel strength and stability, encouraging kindness and genuineness. At Artplay, Becky is incorporating her love for art with her exceptional knowledge for helping. She connects with parents easily, making sure that they know what they can be doing to support the emotional development of their child.
Becky spent her childhood in Australia and California, before getting married and moving to Arizona in order to raise her family. She completed a degree in Chemical Dependency Counseling at Rio Salado College, a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology, plus her Master of Arts in Professional Counseling (MAPC) at Ottawa University in Phoenix. With her extensive education and experience, Becky is an asset to the children that attend Artplay.
Katelyn Fossen (Leads individual and sibling sessions)
Master’s Degree in Art Therapy, B.A. in Art and Psychology
Katelyn has been empowering children to find their strengths and increase their own autonomy since she found her love for art and psychology. This love started at a young age as Katelyn is extremely creative and likes to use a variety of unique materials that have the ability to highlight a positive self-identity. Her genuine nature makes Katelyn a joy for kids (and parents) to work alongside.
Katelyn was born and raised in Tampa, FL. She moved to Tallahassee to attend Florida State University where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Studio Art & Psychology. She then received her Master’s Degree in Art Therapy in 2013. During this time she mainly focused on working with children on the autism spectrum, sensory processing, trauma and social interaction. She moved out to Arizona for a new adventure and enjoys exploring the West. She is trained in child-centered therapy with a pediatric background so she works with kids of all ages and issues.
Blake Beams (Leads individual and sibling sessions, plus social groups)
Master’s Degree in Counseling, B.S. in Psychology
Blake Beams is a confidently trained, calm helper, who enjoys focusing on lowering anxiety in kids of all ages and backgrounds. She encourages children to explore their own emotions by providing a safe space for self-expression during individual sessions. Blake uses sensory play and large movement to help children find their own sense of stability and regulation. Her space at Artplay has a garden area for outdoor play, as well as a large indoor space for art and movement.
Blake has training in trauma, grief/loss and autism, which makes her well-rounded in the main areas that cause anxiety. This means she is able to help all kids. She worked in a school, a hospital and an agency setting before starting at Artplay, where she can put all her valuable experience to use. Blake has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology as well as a master’s degree in counseling from ASU. Blake is an Arizona native and enjoys the desert scenery, making fun trips up around the state for her own self-care.
Stephanie Brinkop (Leads individual and sibling sessions)
Master’s of Science Degree in Art Therapy, B.A. in Design
For over a decade, Stephanie has been helping kids and teens use their artistic expression to help communicate difficult feelings and learn new coping skills through the art making process. She has been an artist at heart since childhood and throughout her adult life has used her compassionate approach in several creative ways.
Stephanie is an Arizona native and attended Northern Arizona University where she received her Bachelor’s Degree in Advertising Design. After working as a graphic designer for several years, she discovered the field of art therapy and enthusiastically went back to school. Stephanie received her Master’s of Science Degree in Art Therapy in 2004 from Mount Mary College in Milwaukee, Wisconsin under the renowned art therapist Bruce Moon. She has now been working as an art therapist in the Phoenix area for almost 15 years. Stephanie’s therapeutic approach is person-centered, focusing primarily on youth with emotional and social concerns.
Elizabeth Rowley (Academic tutor)
BS, Elementary Education
For the past decade, Elizabeth Rowley has been helping kids find a way to love learning. A past Elementary School teacher with a multi-sensory approach to curriculum, she has taught Language Arts, Math, Science and Social Studies to all ages. Her enthusiasm for teaching with both art integration and traditional methodology has contributed to her students’ academic successes.
Elizabeth spent most of her childhood in upstate New York. After graduating from high school in 2001, she decided to venture across the country to attend Arizona State University. In 2005, she graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education. Before opening her own tutoring business, Elizabeth worked at a multi-age, child-centered school, which had project-based learning through the arts. She was named “Teacher of the Year” as a result of her commitment to her school community. Many Artplay families have expressed interest in having a fun tutor for their child, rather than using a large tutoring company or putting their child in summer school. So, we now offer academic tutoring sessions that will engage your child in the arts, while they learn.
Dr. Carla Briante (Naturopath)
Carla is a licensed naturopathic primary care physician. Her general medical practice focuses on pediatric health, as well as women’s health. She specializes in botanical medicine and acupuncture/acupressure. Her approach to care uses gentle, non-invasive therapies including diet and nutritional counseling, plus medical grade supplements.
Dr. Briante graduated from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and holds a Master of Science with over 7 years of experience in health policy research and consulting. Her decision to purse naturopathic medicine was influenced by her professional experiences in health care and her personal experiences with naturopathic medicine. Her lifestyle interests are in yoga, nutrition and natural approaches to health.