CREATE for Change: Raising HIV Awareness through the Arts

CREATE for Change Workshop

CREATE Leaders Workshop photo courtesy of UMD School of Public Health

Maryland ranks among the top 10 states for HIV/AIDS infection, and Prince George's County has some of the highest rates in the state.

We know that the arts facilitate self-exploration and self-expression like nothing else, which is why we've joined forces with the UMD School of Public Health's Prevention Research Center to address these important issues through CREATE (Community Redirection of Expections through Artistic Transformative Experiences) for Change. This arts-based, intergenerational project aims to raise awareness about HIV and STD prevention in Prince George's County through creative expression.

With help from the Seat Pleasant Health Partnership, dozens of high school students and senior citizens in Seat Pleasant, MD are participating in leadership training opportunities to become CREATE leaders in their community and educate others about HIV prevention:

  • Attended by 100 Seat Pleasant youth and senior citizens, the Fourth Annual Seat Pleasant Health Summit on May 10 engaged participants in a process of self-exploration through creative expression around social and cultural influences on HIV-risk behaviors.
  • Held July 9 through 11 at the Clarice Smith Center, the CREATE Leaders Workshop provided leadership training for about 20 youth and senior citizens and addressed the role of schools, parents, peers, ministries and community partners in the prevention of HIV and other community health issues.

Watch the video below to learn more about how the arts are creating change in the Prince George's County community:

Video courtesy of UMD School of Public Health

The partnership is currently being funded through grants from the Association of Performing Arts Presenters and MetLife Foundation All-In: Re-Imagining Community Participation Grant Program and the Prince George’s Arts and Humanities Council. The Prevention Research Center and the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center are pursuing funding for a long-term project to engage Prince George’s County communities through creative expression with a goal of reducing HIV/AIDS.