A growing number of immigrants and refugees from across the world have resettled in Northeast (NE) Philadelphia, where nearly half the residents over the age of five speak a language other than English. According to the PA Refugee Resettlement Program, over 2,000 refugees from Middle Eastern countries, including Iraq and Syria, have resettled in Philadelphia since 2003. Social service agencies and refugee resettlement programs are located predominantly in the center of the city, and refugees living in NE travel long distances to participate in English as a Second Language (ESL) classes and other types of programming. Recognizing this need, the Porchlight Department of Mural Arts (MA) Philadelphia, which focuses on non-clinical approaches to addressing trauma and behavioral health, has established a yearlong program offering free art workshops, proximal to the Arabic speaking community. These workshops promote social inclusion through an arts-based curriculum, ultimately increasing social connections and social support, which are associated with positive health outcomes. Through collaboration with MA, this project aims to describe a unique ongoing intervention and share participant perceptions and reflections in order to inform future programming. Exit interviews were conducted post workshop to gather participant reflections towards each session. Participants noted that after having participated in the workshops, they were able to better express themselves through the art activities and enjoyed being able to change their daily routine, while also interacting with members of the community. This intervention provides a cultural space that fosters creative expression, which in turn allows participants to make important connections in their new city.
Recommended CitationCharidah, Talia and Frasso, PhD, MSc, CPH, Rosemary, "Promoting Social Inclusion Through an Arts Based Curriculum: A Mural Arts Initiative" (2019). Master of Public Health Capstone Presentations. Presentation 293.