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Mural entitled "Brighten the Corners. Located at 114 West Queen Lane." On the side of a set of homes, community figures are painted and intertwined with birds, umbrellas, and flowers. Figures are a mix of male and female and smile or gaze at the viewer.

The health impact of public murals

Philadelphia’s Porch Light mural project shows how art affects community wellbeing
Filed Under
Photography by
Steve Weinik
June 7, 2022
Read Time
1 min
Featured In
Spring 2022

The premise of the Porch Light program, a venture between Mural Arts Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services, is that public art can heal both communities and individual residents. A 2015 Yale School of Public Health evaluation found promising results for individuals, but recommended further study. For communities, though, murals on subjects related to mental health, homelessness, and other social issues boosted empathy, social trust, and perceptions of the neighborhood, among other measures. Stigma around mental health issues was lowered, and new murals provided a catalyst for neighborhood activism.

Filed Under
Steve Weinik
Steve Weinik is a photographer and digital media artist based in Philadelphia. He’s currently the Staff Photographer for the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program.
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