Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Painted Mural speaks for a Refugee Community

On a chilly November evening more than 30 people gathered at the mural exhibit opening celebration on the fourth floor of the Nationalities Service Center in Philadelphia. As you walked through the lobby, a beautiful and colorful mural on the wall catches your eye. “We want to tell our story. We want our grandchildren to know our story. We want that to be preserved.” This quote echoes the wish Bhutanese refugee elders have for their children and for the Philadelphia community - sharing their history and culture through this mural.  A few elders also expressed that they hope their mural will be an inspiration to other refugee communities in Philadelphia to do the same through art - communicate their history, cultural, journey and hope for the future

Kerenza Reid, Project Coordinator from Nationalities Services Center for the Philadelphia Partnership Resilience (PPR) opened the event with background information about the project and a few words of appreciation with pauses in between for interpretation to the elders. Danielle Bossert, BuildaBridge’s Refugee Project manager also shared her experience working with the Bhutanese refugee elders and thanked the artists that led the project, Julie Rosen and Stevie French for the many hours they spent with the elders and preparing the mural.  Two of the elders, through the interpreter, shared experiences from their life in Bhutan, thoughts on the process of creating the mural and what they hope to see in the future. There was pride in the way they spoke about their experience, one even coming prepared with his speech notes on a sheet of paper.  The audience and their peers clapped after hearing each momentous and moving speech.

The mural is on exhibit at Nationalities Services Center, 1216 Arch Street, 4th Floor, Philadelphia.  A copy print of the mural will be on display at the Bhutanese American Organization of Philadelphia in South Philadelphia where the BuildaBridge art classes were held and where many Bhutanese community members come for other meetings, events and classes.

View Photos of the event.

Many thanks to the Corner Bakery Cafe for their generous donation of fruit, cheese and vegetable trays for the event!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Join us in celebrating the Journey!

Join us in celebrating the journey of Bhutanese refugee elders!

Friday November 14th, 5:30 pm-7:30 pm
Nationalities Service Center
1216 Arch Street, 4th Floor, Philadelphia
"We want to tell our story. We want our grandchildren to know our story. We want that to be preserved."

Join the Philadelphia Partnership for Resilience in celebrating a mural created by Bhutanese refugee elders residing in South Philadelphia!  BuildaBridge Artists-on-Call led the group of 15 Bhutanese refugee elders over the past 3 months in creating the mural with vibrant colors and fabrics reminiscent of their culture. The mural depicts the elders' lifestyle in Bhutan, their flight into Nepal where many spent almost 20 years in refugee camps and their journey to Philadelphia.

We invite you to join us in honoring the elders' artwork and their goals for the mural in an exhibit opening celebration on Friday November 14th from 5:30 pm-7:30 pm at Nationalities Service Center located at 1216 Arch Street, 4th Floor, Philadelphia, PA.  For questions, please call (215) 842-0428 or email