Document Type


Publication Date



This is the author's final published version in Frontiers in Education, Volume 7, November 2022, Article number 953171.

The published version is available at Copyright © 2022 Pepe, Sowers, Pimentel, Hoffman, Doran, Guth, Khan, Baronet and Frasso.

Publication made possible in part by support from the Jefferson Open Access Fund


Background: Art can be a strong advocacy tool; it can be used to amplify the voices of marginalized communities and can change people’s perceptions of the world and others in it. In 2018, an art exhibit at Jefferson University included the cardboard signs of people who panhandle in Philadelphia as well as excerpts from in-depth interviews with those who panhandle to highlight their lived experiences. While the team published an article about this work, the purpose of this follow-up study is to explore the lasting impact of the exhibit experience on attendees’ perceptions of people who panhandle.

Methods: Fourteen attendees of the “Signs of Humanity” exhibit were interviewed 18 months later to explore their recollection of their visit and perceptions of the panhandling community. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and thematic codes were developed in two ways: a priori codes based on literature, and through line-by-line reading of transcripts.

Results: Directed content analysis showed three main areas in which the exhibit resonated with participants: emotional, behavioral, and educational resonance, in addition to a cross-cutting “sticky” theme, referring to the memorable long-term value of the exhibit.

Conclusion: This study demonstrates that integrating art into the dissemination phase of research is effective in imbuing long-lasting emotional/behavioral responses in a way that is both accessible and provocative for the lay and scientific communities. This study adds to the body of evidence supporting the efficacy of art as an education tool and supports its use as a way to amplify the voices of marginalized communities.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Data Sheet 1.docx (2782 kB)





To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.