In 2017 an opportunity to explore Public Art and Public Health lead me to a 2020 enrollment in an online Graduate Certificate Program at the University of Florida. I studied as part of the first cohort of the Arts in Public Health Graduate Certificate Program at the University of Florida's Center for Arts in Medicine.
The Program consisted of two eight-week courses, a sixteen-week practicum, and one additional eight-week course.
The pandemic presented logistical challenges to delivering a hands-on arts in health practicum experience; however, virtual delivery offered alternative opportunities.
My 12 week Hands On Arts in Public Health Practicum, Voluntary Expressions, was completed through the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts, Miami Dade County as an online opportunity for volunteer staff furloughed since pandemic closures.
The creative engagement employed poetry as a tool for connectivity through one hour online sessions twice weekly.
Approximately 25 participants crafted group and individuals poems dubbed, 'Donations'. The 'Donations' were presented by the participants at a live event in April 2021, coinciding with one of the Arsht Center's Market Mondays, in celebration of Voluntary Expressions and National Poetry Month.
The Professional Seminar followed the Practicum and concluded in June with the development of a program proposal designed to hold space for and facilitate creative engagement for Monroe County residents, age fifty and older.
Creative engagement promotes social cohesion. Social cohesion is directly linked to community resilience. Yogi In Ya seeks to promote social cohesion through creative engagement with arts and culture in community settings to support greater resilience to climate change and health impacts, and specifically, to natural disaster events within the Key West, Monroe County, and South Florida communities.