A native of Chicago, Nina Gorbach met her earliest influences there: art teacher, Helen Hale, and dancer/ choreographer, Lar Lubovich. Drawing, painting, music and dance filled her life. She majored in Fine Arts at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, guided by painting instructor, Richard Lazzaro. In 1969 Nina moved to California and in 1974 graduated with a BA in Fine Arts from UC Berkeley.
From there, Nina traveled to Sussex, England to study Rudolf Steiner Education and a host of arts and sciences at Emerson College. Educator Francis Edmunds was her revered mentor. Thus began a 10 year odyssey in which Nina studied art throughout Europe. In Switzerland she trained in Eurythmy, an art of movement based on poetry and music. She worked in Scotland, Italy, and Spain with children and adults through arts and education programs. Painter L. Collot D’Herbois had a profound influence on her use of color and drawing as a healing art.
Nina later worked as a curative Eurythmist with developmentally disabled children and adults in Chicago’s inner city, mentored by Dr. Traute Page. Returning to California, she received a Masters in Counseling Education from San Diego State University. During that time her mother became ill with cancer; this opened Nina to the world of hospice where she began developing programs for bereaved children and families. In 1992 she became a licensed California Marriage & Family Therapist. Pursuing her passion for grief and trauma work, focusing on healing arts, she trained in Canada and the US studying with leading international experts. Cross-cultural learning and connection is an ongoing theme in her life and art.
In 1994 Nina and her husband, Howard, moved to Sonoma, CA where her work as a psychotherapist and artist culminated in founding WillMar Center for Bereaved Children, a non-profit organization named for her parents William and Mary Sagall, serving grieving children, families and the larger community. Since 2008, she has been creating and teaching art professionally both in her home studio and in the community. Work as a counselor and coach enriches her art; her love of art and people pervades her life.