The Communities of ARTZ in the Neighborhood

ARTZ in the Neighborhood projects in Hunting Park and Northwest Philadelphia are empowered by community partnerships in each region

— ARTZ in the Neighborhood is supported and empowered by community partnerships in both the Hunting Park and NW Philadelphia regions of the initiative.

In Hunting Park, Esperanza Health Center is a community partner. The community health center on 6th Street is a hub for the neighborhood, with weekly senior brunches, educational seminars, fresh produce markets in the summer, Health promoter classes, and a vibrant staff of community health professionals.

ARTZ participants Madelyne and Ruby smiling

We are grateful that one employee, Jessica Gonzalez, reached out to us to invite our director to speak at a senior brunch in early 2018– that invitation, as well as the question that followed Susan’s presentation, has grown into our commitment to creating bilingual programs that are of, by and for the community in Hunting Park. Madelyne Groves joined the project as community liaison, and with her help translating, our advisory group meetings are all bilingual. Jessica Gonzalez, the employee at Esperanza who first invited Susan to speak about quality of life for people living with dementia, created the artwork that is now featured on the cover of the flipbook/guide created by the group to share the project.

We continue to meet at the Health Center on 6th street twice a month — a smaller group of seniors from Young at Heart responded to the idea of ARTZ in teh Neighborhood in Hunting Park, and became an advisory group. Our relationships with those individual advisory group members are also community partnerships. The group is full of eager, honest, creative advisors with the goal of imagining programming that will bring joy to people living with dementia and their care partners in Hunting Park.

In Northwest Philadelphia, we found a meeting space, partner, and an advisory group member in La Salle University Art Museum. We are also in partnership with the Neighborhood Nursing Center at La Salle, where two health professionals are valued advisory group members. La Salle faculty and staff in various fields responded to our interest in building a community driven program with community members in the NW Philly region (community members from residents to university staff.) They recommended an active community organizer for our open community liaison position, and Toya Algarin, a lifelong resident in the area, joined our team.

The Northwest Philly ARTZ in the Neighborhood group sits around a table

We’re grateful to The Logan Library branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia, our go-to team meeting spot. Toya has developed a relationship with the librarians and the students that arrive after 2PM like clockwork. We have begun hosting community “Cafés for Carers” in their large, bright meeting room downstairs.

Both the Hunting Park and NW Philadelphia advisory groups include people who who work in the neighborhood, who grew up, left, and came back, and who have lived on the same block for a lifetime. Our community partners in both neighborhoods help to invite people in, to host and publicize events, and to connect us with communities within the communities.

To read more from this series about some of the people and stories behind “ARTZ in the Neighborhood,” you can view the first three stories in our monthly newsletters here, here and here!