“When words alone are not enough, the arts can often help.”
The staff and board of directors at Institute for Therapy through the Arts remember Toddy and reflect on the rich legacy she leaves behind. A dynamic personality, and the most creative being, Toddy was beloved by generations of ITA staff, students, and clients. Her warm energy and open arms made everyone feel welcomed, valued, and special.
In 1975, Toddy founded ITA as a program of the Music Center of North Shore which is known today as the Music Institute of Chicago (MIC). The program launched with 27 children from the Irene Josselyn Clinic, Cove School, and the Music Institute offering only music therapy at the time. Under her leadership, ITA grew to provide four forms of creative arts therapy, becoming one of the only centers in the country to bring art, dance/movement, drama, and music therapies together.
Toddy remained involved at ITA after her retirement, serving as a clinical consultant for many years. Toddy regularly attended weekly staff meetings, providing her wisdom and encouragement, frequently reminding the staff of how important their work was and how incredibly talented they were. Toddy then served on ITA’s first board of directors when it became an independent nonprofit organization in 2015, and was named Board Member Emeritus in 2019.
Toddy also made significant contributions to the field of drama therapy and was a co-founder of the North American Drama Therapy Association (NADTA). She taught drama therapy courses at Columbia College and National-Louis University, and presented workshops and papers for 23 annual conferences. In 2008, she was honored with the NADTA Service Award in recognition of her substantial time and effort serving the association.
Toddy passed away peacefully early morning on April 24th. Her daughter, Elizabeth, was able to visit her Friday evening to light the Shabbat candles. In her final days, music therapist, Amanda Ziemba, brought Toddy joy and peace through music, a gift the ITA staff was honored to provide.
Toddy left words to live by that beautifully capture the spirit of ITA:
“When words alone are not enough, the arts can often help”.
Her legacy will live on through the work of hundreds of creative arts therapists all over the world who have been influenced by her wisdom.
The ITA staff will be planning a future celebration to honor Toddy. To receive updates regarding this event and/or to contribute memories or photos, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.