Owl & Panther provides meaningful and healing expressive arts experiences in the community and the natural world for refugee families resettled in Tucson who have been impacted by trauma, torture and traumatic dislocation. To foster acceptance of refugees in the community through education. And to honor the efforts of our volunteers who make this work possible.
From Andi Hammonds
Program Director, Owl & Panther
Owl & Panther has long enjoyed a cohesive partnership with Tucson Museum of Art, and we are incredibly grateful to TMA for the opportunity to provide shared healing experiences with refugee youth and their families through the arts.
Museum as Sanctuary, now in its 10th year, has united people from 5 continents and all walks of life. It’s given agency to New Americans young and old. Participants learn to see themselves in art, to feel “at home” in museums, and to try new techniques. Focusing one’s energy and emotions into a creative outlet is incredibly liberating. TMA helps make this restorative experience accessible to our most vulnerable community members, and we are all better for it. Since my involvement working at IRC through now, I have observed many participants with debilitating PTSD symptoms convert their skeptical hypervigilance into actualized resilience with each project. I’ve watched otherwise isolated members of our refugee community emerge from their self-protective cocoons as revitalized social butterflies, excitedly sharing techniques and masterpieces with beaming pride.
The two Museum as Sanctuary exhibitions I attended not only brought awareness and understanding about refugees to the greater Tucson community & beyond, it celebrated the diverse talents of impressive New Americans who have found comfort in creating. I’m moved to tears when I think about all the fond memories I’ve made at TMA through Owl & Panther, and I’m thrilled to see what our participants make next!