VISUAL ARTIST, WRITER, CREATIVE ENGAGEMENT FACILITATOR
Katarina is a visual artist, passionate in her belief that art can build connections. As writer, illustrator and researcher, she published her first book, Drawn Together – Maintaining Connections and Navigating Life’s Challenges with Art, in 2013. Katarina’s current project is a graphic novel series, Joseph (working title) – a true story and family saga based in Vancouver BC. The now 20 year project was born out of her volunteer work as researcher on the Babes in the Woods Cold Case Task Force from 2003 to 2004. The graphic novel will be published with Conundrum Press in 2025.
Katarina uses creativity to engage whole brain thinking, to foster meaningful dialogue, and to provide safe and inclusive space. She has worked in custody centres, community programs, care facilities, restorative justice organizations, a variety of school districts and within alternative schools. Katarina’s own artwork can be found in private collections in North America and Europe. Her interactive art events and street art encourage participants to become part of the creative process.
Born in Sweden, Katarina is deeply grateful to live, work and play on the unceded traditional territories of the Coast Salish peoples of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), Səlbílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.
2013 Drawn Together – Maintaining Connections and Navigating Life’s Challenges with Art (book)
2022 JOSEPH, The Prologue (Limited edition Broadsheet)
Awards and Grants
2010 City of North Vancouver Civic Youth Award – Outstanding Supporter of Youth
2014 Women of Worth- Humanitarian of the Year
2021 Yosef Work Publication Fund at Vancouver Heritage Foundation
2023 British Columbia Arts Council Individual Arts Award – Creative Writers
2023 Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity Residency Scholarship
2023 Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity Residency Spring Thematic – Graphic Novels and Visual Narrative
Creative Engagement and Therapeutic Art Clients and Collaborators include (but are not limited to):
School districts: North Vancouver, Burnaby, Vancouver, Coquitlam, Sunshine Coast, Vancouver Island, Cariboo-Chilcotin
Schools: Mountainside Secondary, Keith Lynn Alternative Secondary, Alpha Secondary, Byrne Creek Secondary, Strathcona Elementary, West Pointe Grey Academy, Roberts Creek Elementary, Elphinstone Secondary, Kwayhquitlum Middle School, Minnekhada Middle School. L’Ecole Maillard Middle School, Hillcrest Middle School, L’Ecole Moody Middle School of the Arts, École Rochester Elementary, Fraser River Middle School, Riverside Secondary, École Montgomery Middle, Lake City Secondary School, Small Talk Preschool for Language Disorders, Bayview Community School, SelfDesign Home Schooling, Rhodes Wellness College, Stenberg College, Simon Fraser University, University of British Columbia
Youth Programs: Canucks Autism Network, HELP Street Youth, The Foundry, Intensive Youth Outreach Services, Hollyburn Family Services, Frames Film Project, Drive Youth Employment Services, Intersections Media Opportunities for Youth Society, Burnaby Neighborhood House, Burnaby Youth Custody Centre, Pacific Community Resource Society, Passion to Lead, Strathcona Community Centre, YouthCO
Restorative Justice Programs: North Shore Restorative Justice, Punky Lake Wilderness Society, Shaking the Movers, Centre for Restorative Justice, Circles of Support and Accountability
As well as: City of Surrey, City of Vancouver, viaSPORT, NGU Consultants, Spruce Harbour Marina, Tapestry Retirement Living, Pacific Arbour Retirement Communities, Hawthorne Memory Care, Evergreen Extended Care, Concert Properties, Leisure Care Canada, Vancouver Coastal Health, Fraser Health, Bayshore Home Health Care, Beauty Night Society, Friends for Life, Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, Operation Sock Monkey, DIVERSEcity, Place des Arts, Tri-Cities Overdose Community Action Team, Solid State Community Industries
Katarina Thorsen, BSc (1984, University of British Columbia) is not a board-certified art therapist but a creative engagement facilitator. Katarina has over 30+ years of frontline experience with vulnerable populations, facilitating artistic expression in one-on-one and group settings.