Gloria Simoneaux, A’74

Gloria Simoneaux

Gloria in Malawi, 2012


Gloria Simoneaux is the 2015 winner of the CUAA Peter Cooper Service Award.  She will be inducted into The Cooper Union Hall of Fame on April 26, 2015.

Gloria Simoneaux is an expressive arts therapist with over 35 years of international experience. She has a degree in Integral Counseling Psychology from The California Institute of Integral Studies, in addition to a BFA from The Cooper Union.

In 1991, Gloria Simoneaux began DrawBridge, an expressive arts program for homeless and other vulnerable children, which operates in California and helps more than a thousand children annually.

In 2007, Gloria Simoneaux left her position as founding director of DrawBridge, An Arts Program for Homeless Children, having received a Fulbright fellowship to work in Nairobi, Kenya. She spent the following year and a half teaching, designing and implementing expressive arts therapy trainings for Kenyan counselors and educators. Expressive arts are the use of art, music, dance, storytelling and play within the context of counseling, psychotherapy and education. During her stint as a Fulbright scholar, Gloria initiated three community arts projects: (1) targeting autistic children and youth, (2) leading a support group for HIV+ women prisoners, and (3) facilitating a program for children living in Kibera, the largest slum in Africa. Those three projects became the foundation of Harambee Arts, which has become a highly successful NGO responding to the lack of attention and support for marginalized children and women. Harambee Arts expanded to serve trafficking survivors in Nepal in 2011.

As the founding director of Harambee Arts, an expressive arts organization and training program based in sub-Saharan Africa and Nepal, Gloria has worked with individuals and organizations serving children and women globally who have been traumatized by illness, poverty, violence, incarceration, trafficking, autistic spectrum disorder and other crises.

Her unique ability to promote creativity and personal expression has been invaluable throughout her career teaching expressive arts to counselors in Nairobi as a Fulbright scholar, working with pediatric oncology patients in San Francisco hospitals, and supporting clients such as Save the Children, READ Global, USAID, and other international humanitarian and development agencies in the U.S., Ghana, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe, Kenya, South Africa, Malawi, Nepal, India, Haiti and Mexico.

Gloria in Nairobi

A training workshop in Nairobi hosted by USAID, 2011



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Gloria with Ahmadi, a young man living with autism, Nairobi 2014

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Gloria with Salim, a young man living with autism, Nairobi 2013

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Gloria with autistic students, Nairobi, 2013

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Gloria with survivors of trafficking, and their technical support team, who she has trained as trainers in Expressive Arts Therapy using the Harambee Arts methodology, 2013