Introduction The objective of this study was to evaluate the contributions of Art Education for sexual health promotion of adolescents in the context of urban social vulnerability, through the process of consciousness and empowerment.
Methods Community-based participatory research developed with 21 adolescents who were participating in a governmental program of Art Education and resocialization located in a Brazilian poor community. Data were collected in five months by Fetterman’s method of Empowerment Evaluation through weekly group meetings and participant observation by critical friends. Data analysis was supported by Freire’s concepts of Critical Consciousness with a qualitative approach to data categorization.
Results Adolescents oriented their needs and priorities of health into two main themes and their categories: 1) Community: health care, diseases, trafficking, violence, drugs and leisure; 2) Adolescence: body, mind, friendships, dating, sex and fun. The Art Education activities - visual, audiovisual and dance - were articulated with reflections about these subjects and showed the power of community relationships in sexual health promotion of adolescents. Some changes were observed after reevaluation of the process and involved the triad: individual, community and program. A predominantly negative view of the neighbourhood was becoming a vision full of possibilities, examples and personal empowerment for health and wisely choices.
Conclusion This research proposed a model of Adolescent Health Promotion Based on Art Education and Community-Centred. The group walked towards intransitive consciousness, for the transitive-naive and critical, featuring an awareness process that began with the seizure of a health reality initially considered fateful and immutable, past the living situations that favoured the questioning of this reality and culminated with the perception of the possibilities of change and self-determination for change.