Gutierrez is a trained art therapist and a licensed social worker with over 10 years of experience in the mental health field. She received her BA in Psychology and Art Studio from the University of California, Davis. She holds a graduate degree in Art Therapy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a Masters in Social Work from the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, New York.
Larisa has a special interest in representing and exhibiting the work of marginalized artists. Her inspiration came from the visiting several rehabilitation programs/art studios in Europe and her internship at the Living Museum – an art asylum for Creedmoor Psychiatric inpatient and outpatient clients located in Queens, NY. Larisa’s immersion into the Living Museum led to her curatorial debut at the Gallery 37 in Chicago, IL. Since then she has collaborated with the Living Museum and curated several of its exhibitions.
In 2005, after receiving her MA in Art Therapy, she was hired to develop an art therapy program. She created a place that provided therapeutic, non-judgmental and supportive environment in which to explore and develop artistic interests and strengths. Her goal was to honor people’s abilities and to promote self-expression; to employ art as a way of empowering and engaging residents in exploration of themselves and their relationship to the surrounding environment. Later she curated various exhibitions in Downtown Brooklyn, Van Der Plas Art Gallery, Galerie Atelier Herenplaats in Rotterdam, the Intuit Show of Folk and Outsider Art in Chicago, and Vienna’s National Library as part of the first European Outsider Art Fair. During this time she was privileged to work with the very talented people who trusted her to exhibit their artwork both nationally and internationally.
Years have passed, Larisa’s job titles and responsibilities have changed yet, her passion for art as a way of improving people’s lives remains constant. She is currently working at Creedmoor Psychiatric center as a rehabilitation counselor.