Artist Christine Bethea with the Bhutanese Community Association of Pittsburgh

Date

2017-2019

Location

Greater Pittsburgh

Introduction

From 2017-2019, artist Christine Bethea collaborated with the Bhutanese Community Association of Pittsburgh (BCAP) as part of OPA’s Artist Residencies in the Public Realm with Immigrant and Refugee Communities. Early on, BCAP identified the need to build civic engagement for youth of the community, with a focus on women’s empowerment. In the first year of the residency, Bethea focused on getting to know the Bhutanese community by attending community events and working with them on their organization’s strategic plan. She held multiple arts workshops and organized in-person arts experiences for adults and youths in the community.

Community Engagement

In the spring of 2018, Bethea and BCAP held two separate “art mixers” for Bhutanese teens in the South Hills area, a target demographic identified through the first year of the residency. These mixers introduced the youth to different mediums and forms of expression, ranging from textiles and painting to digital production. Through these activities, Bethea and BCAP sought to build community for these teens and introduce them to various art media and arts organizations from across the Pittsburgh area.

The Youth Arts Team (YATs)

As a result of the art mixers and workshops, a core group of Bhutanese youth, ages 11 to 16, established the Youth Arts Team and chose to work with Bethea as a mentor for the following year. The Youth Arts Team, or YATs as they named themselves, developed their leadership skills by organizing a program rooted in civic engagement for their community. In collaboration with Bethea, the YATs developed arts related programming for their peers and their community, including arts workshops and field trips to local cultural institutions. The YATs were integral in planning and implementing the programming, including budgeting and logistics.

This Is BCAP

As part of the program, the YATs partnered with Pittsburgh’s PCTV cable access television station. Working with PCTV, the YATs learned how to use media and production equipment and documented BCAP events throughout 2019. As they participated in the field trips, the YATs made videos and conducted interviews, including one with the Mayor of Pittsburgh. A forty minute pilot episode of This Is BCAP was completed and aired on PCTV, and can be seen on YouTube at the link in the Online Resources section below. 

Online Resources

Website

Learn more about the Bhutanese Community Association of Pittsburgh.

Video

Watch the forty minute pilot episode of This Is BCAP, originally aired on PCTV.

Related

PROJECTS

Molly Rice with women of the Pittsburgh Afghan refugee community

Rice’s residency with women of the Afghan refugee community was rooted in sharing their stories of home, family, food, and the refugee experience with Pittsburghers.

PROJECTS

Lindsey Peck Scherloum with United Somali Bantu of Greater Pittsburgh

Scherloum collaborated with Somali Bantu, Central African, and African American residents to gather and share stories of migration.

PROJECTS

Mary Tremonte with Literacy Pittsburgh

Tremonte engaged ESL students at Literacy Pittsburgh in arts-based lessons, field trips, and projects that built a sense of community.

About the Artist

Christine Bethea is a teaching artist and a 20-year veteran of arts administration, who has worked with national and international organizations, nonprofits and local governments to advance the visibility of Pittsburgh through its arts community. She is the winner of several awards for business and arts collaborations that include recognition from the Pittsburgh Technology Council, the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts, and the Pittsburgh Arts Council. As an artist, Bethea works in multimedia and assemblage. In addition, she is a Western Pennsylvania heritage quilter, whose work and words have been archived in the Library of Congress and by the Senator John Heinz History Center, a Smithsonian affiliate.

About the Collaborating Organization

The Bhutanese Community Association of Pittsburgh (BCAP) is a local community based nonprofit established in 2012 to help its community integrate and become self-sufficient. They serve approximately five thousand Bhutanese in the South Hills of Allegheny County with a variety of programs. Some current areas of service include Civic Education/Citizenship Test Preparation Classes, Call Tree/Robocall, Youth and Sports, Community Gardening, Senior Engagement, Cultural Preservation and Celebrations, Women Leadership and Empowerment, and some family support services.

Additional Partners and Collaborators

Pittsburgh Center for the Arts; The Mission Continues; Pittsburgh High School for Creative and Performing Arts; Center of Life; Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh; Baldwin Whitehall Library; Baldwin Borough; Mayor’s Office, City of Pittsburgh; Pittsburgh Aviary; Phipps Conservatory; City of Asylum; Randyland; Society for Contemporary Craft; LaVerne Kemp Studios; and PCTV 21.

Image credits

Gallery, top:
(1) Workshop with artist Christine Bethea, photo by OPA; (2) Youth Arts Team at BCAP Wrap Party, photo courtesy Heather Mull; (3, 4) BCAP Excursion, photo courtesy Heather Mull; (5) BCAP Wrap Party, photo courtesy Heather Mull; (6) Youth Arts Team at BCAP Wrap Party, photo courtesy Heather Mull; (7) BCAP Wrap Party, photo courtesy Heather Mull; (8) Youth Arts Team at BCAP Wrap Party, photo courtesy Heather Mull; (9) Youth Arts Team, photo courtesy artist; (10) Youth Arts Team, photo courtesy Heather Mull.

Artist Headshot:
Artist Christine Bethea, photo courtesy artist

Related

PROJECTS

Molly Rice with women of the Pittsburgh Afghan refugee community

Rice’s residency with women of the Afghan refugee community was rooted in sharing their stories of home, family, food, and the refugee experience with Pittsburghers.

PROJECTS

Lindsey Peck Scherloum with United Somali Bantu of Greater Pittsburgh

Scherloum collaborated with Somali Bantu, Central African, and African American residents to gather and share stories of migration.

PROJECTS

Mary Tremonte with Literacy Pittsburgh

Tremonte engaged ESL students at Literacy Pittsburgh in arts-based lessons, field trips, and projects that built a sense of community.