The Road Home
A one of a kind artist and storytelling team has collaborated with each other and community members to bring art, truth, and connection to a storefront in Kensington, a Philadelphia neighborhood that has been deeply affected by the national opioid epidemic.
The street artist Caledonia Curry, known as Swoon, has led the effort to bring understanding and hope to all community members in this northeast Philly neighborhood. This project has come out of the Porch Light program: a collaboration between Mural Arts Philadelphia and City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disability Services, with the goal of achieving universal health and wellness among Philadelphians, especially those dealing with mental health issues or trauma. The storefront on Kensington Avenue, run by Mural Arts Philadelphia, aims to be a welcoming and trauma-informed space for all.
Swoon and her collaborators—counselor and artist Jessica Radovich and storytelling coaches Heather Box and Julian Mocine-McQueen—hosted a series of innovative daily workshops in the heart of Kensington, focused on creating art, storytelling, letter writing, self-care, and connection.
The project culminated in several powerful ways. It included a mural designed by Swoon and painted by neighborhood residents, a conference with addiction specialist Dr. Gabor Mate in October of 2018, that focused on acknowledging and treating the trauma that underlies addiction, the creation of a mindfulness zine for everyday people to journey toward wholeness, and an evening of powerful storytelling titled “Stories from the Road Home.” This team has been honored to do this work in community with the residents of Kensington, and are hopeful that this is just the beginning of more art, more truth-telling, and more healing to come. Sign up below to stay in the loop.
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A MURAL BY SWOON: PAINTED IN COMMUNITY
“Healing Begins With Connection”
“The mural “Healing Begins With Connection” was drawn from people I’d worked with in Kensingnton, representing neighbors, people who volunteer at the storefront, and people who come in for services. I’ve never created a work of art that was so much at home in it’s place. Most unforgettable for me were the looks on people’s faces when they saw that the mural was truly a loving reflection of their community. A number of times I heard people say things like “Did you hear? It’s real people on here!” Or “Hey that’s us!” And my collaborator Jess Radovich commented on how unusual it felt to have the sense that something overwhelmingly and unanimously positive was happening on a block that sees so much suffering.” - Calledonia Curry, “Swoon”
the road home CONFERENCE: WITH DR. GABOR MATE
OCTOBER 2018, PHILLY The first public event was a conference headlined by Dr. Gabor Mate. After his keynote speech, the conference broke out into workshops on somatic healing, race-based trauma, safe injection sights and more. All presenters worked to push forward the conversation around how to heal the trauma that causes addiction, and how to keep people alive while they find ways to get help
CONFERENCE MISSION / VISION: We are a community of human beings, creatives, and seekers, coming together to better understand pain, trauma and addiction - and to support and expand the context of true healing. This is a conference unlike any other conference. Although the content will be of the highest quality, we aim to turn traditional power dynamics and systems on their sides by encouraging deep engagement from the participants. The values here are connection, empowerment, deep understanding and meaningful change on individual, community, and system levels.
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stories from the road home: storytelling series
This evening of storytelling was a powerful example of connection and healing, through vulnerability and truth telling.
STORIES ARE POWER
everyday healing: a mindfulness zine
CREATED BY: JESS RADOVICH
Zines are accessible, simple ways to transmit information.
Everyday Healing is a mindfulness zine created and designed for everyday people to better understand their inner landscape and learn simple mindfulness practices that can greatly aid the journey to wholeness and healing.
Developed out of time spent at the Kensington Storefront, a community arts space created by Mural Arts Philadelphia at the center of the opioid crisis in Philadelphia , and in collaboration with artist Swoon and the Million Person Project, the Everyday Healing zine is a response to the great need for simple, relational ways for us all to start healing our pain, addiction and restlessness.