Zukhra is the founder and executive director of Pro-Cure Art. She holds master's degrees in international development, and in regional and comparative studies. Since 2000, she's been working for international development organizations implementing, monitoring and evaluating their maternal and child health, communicable and non-communicable disease control and prevention programs and projects. Through her summer 2014 volunteer experience at a pediatric cancer hospital in hometown Tashkent, Zukhra discovered a calling for the arts in medicine. Her experience at the hospital and other medical encounters developed a strong interest in the medical art therapy and therapeutic art. In November 2015, Zukhra founded a nonprofit organization Pro-Cure Art in Washington D.C. to deliver trauma-informed art therapy to people and communities affected by adversity.
Mary Ellen Ruff, Sr. Art Therapist
Mary Ellen Ruff earned her Master of Science in Art Therapy from Eastern Virginia Medical School in 1996. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (VA and DC), a Registered and Board Certified Art Therapist (ATR-BC) and an approved clinical supervisor in VA, MD and DC. Mary Ellen has worked in a variety of settings over the past 20 years with a special interest in substance abuse with adolescents and adults, and the strong connection between trauma and addiction.
Mary Ellen specializes in working with adolescents and adults in her private practice and has worked for the City of Alexandria for the past 10 years with court-involved individuals. She also has a passion for teaching and providing supervision. Mary Ellen began teaching in the Graduate Art Therapy Program at GW in 2007 and teaches several courses to include Art Therapy with Adolescents, Substance Abuse and Addictions, Practicum Supervision and has an active role in the Gorge Washington Art Therapy Clinic as a supervisor and assistant to the Director. She loves creating mixed-media pieces using found objects, fabric and paper, and as a cancer survivor herself, has a passion for exposing anyone she meets to the healing power of art.
Nicholas Denson, Art Therapist
Nicholas Denson, ATR-BC, is a DC based Art Therapist. He received his BA in Studio Art/ Psychology from Christopher Newport University and M.A. in Art Therapy from George Washington University. Nick currently practices Art Therapy at the McClendon Center. The center is a nonprofit program that provides therapeutic art for adults with serious and persistent mental illness. Nick also works at Inova Fairfax Hospital on an inpatient psychiatric unit and is the President of the Potomac Art Therapy Association.
Maike Nolen, Art Therapist
Maike Nolen, MA, ATR is a registered art therapist who graduated from The George Washington University in January 2016. She currently works at a senior residence in Virginia with clients who have Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia as well as physical disabilities and other diagnoses. Maike also leads a weekly open studio for the SCAPE program at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton for veterans, active duty service members, and their families. During her graduate program she interned at a youth center in South Africa, a psychiatric hospital, and a trauma clinic. She has experience working with seniors, adolescents, children, and adults.
Maike began her career as goldsmith and graduate gemologist in Germany. In her last position as a graduate gemologist she worked for the German Foundation for Gemstone Research in her hometown, Idar-Oberstein. After relocating to the United States, she obtained a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. This, coupled with her lifelong interest in visual arts, led her to the art therapy program at The George Washington University.
As an artist, Maike enjoys working with oil paints and acrylics, clay, and soapstone sculpture, as well as exploring other art media.
Queenie Wong, Volunteer Media Artist
Queenie Wong is the PCA’s Media and Digital Art volunteer. The aspiring Canadian artist holds a B.Sc in Neuroscience and Psychology and is presently completing her Master’s studies (M.Sc.) conducting clinical research under the Department of Medicine in Psychiatry. A personal period of dark sadness led her to adopt philosophies of ‘mindfulness’ and ‘art therapy’ for personal healing.
Having experienced first hand the powerful effects of art on mental health, it became Queenie’s mission to share her artwork in the hopes to heal, inspire, and transform the lives of others. Along with continual pursuits in the field of Medicine, Queenie volunteers with non-profits hoping to heal, inspire, and transform the lives of others through her artwork. Queenie’s greatest hope is to use her aspirations of becoming a doctor and artist to not only help transform human pain into triumph but to also, slowly, but surely inspire change in the world.
Queenie has joined the PCA in January 2016 proactively offering to produce a promo short video for Pro-Cure Art launch.
Anna Kurzer, Fundraising Volunteer
Anna Kurzer is a graphic designer with various degrees in Finance, Marketing and Management.
She studied art history aside from her regular finance curriculum and hopes to complete her masters in graphic design.
Anna is the Director of Color Me A Cure; a Non-Profit Foundation with the mission to improve patient treatment experience and survival outcomes in the field of pediatric oncology. The focus is on pediatric art therapy and on pediatric oncology programs in underdeveloped and developing countries.
Discovering her true passion for graphic design, Anna had to balance and self teach new skills such as, how to maintain the non-profit's website, create promotional materials and do the foundation literature.
Anna started volunteering for PCA in 2017 by offering fundraising advice and day to day support.