Porch Light

Strengthening community wellness through public art

The North Philadelphia Beacon Project © 2013 Mural Arts Philadelphia / James Burns, 2701 North Broad Street.

What is Porch Light? 

At Mural Arts, we believe that hands-on art-making provides a strong pathway for individual and community healing.

Our Porch Light program, a joint collaboration with the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services, focuses on achieving universal health and wellness among Philadelphians, especially those dealing with mental health issues or trauma. We do this by providing opportunities to contribute to meaningful works of public art.

Porch Light projects are driven by issues that have tangible effects on local communities, such as mental health, substance use, spirituality, unhoused populations, trauma, immigration, war, and neighborhood safety. The targeted outcomes of any Porch Light project include:

  • improvements to the physical environment
  • new opportunities for social connections
  • positive changes within a community, such as enhanced unity and empathy among neighbors
  • beneficial effects for participants who have encountered hardship related to the addressed issues

Porch Light does its work in four main arenas: 

An ongoing list of brilliant murals and transformed public spaces throughout Philadelphia are the final products of year-round Porch Light workshops, community meetings, health forums, and paint days. A finished Porch Light artwork shines a light on the people who helped bring the project to life and challenges social stigmas around mental and behavioral health, offering a fresh window of opportunity for continued progress and community growth.

Visit www.porchlightvirtualtour.org for a visual map and description of all the Porch Light projects that have been completed throughout the city. 


How do we measure the impact of Porch Light? 

The Yale School of Medicine conducted rigorous, community-based research in three Porch Light communities to assess the program’s impact on individual and community-level health outcomes. The study found that there were significantly positive effects on both participants in Porch Light programming and on the neighborhoods where the projects were installed. Read more about the study and its findings HERE.

What is the future of Porch Light? Can the program work in any city? 

National foundations, health leaders, and universities from all over the country look to Mural Arts’ Porch Light program as an example of progressive public health promotion. With generous support from our sponsors, we are honing the Porch Light methodology and striving to create a national model for an innovative approach to promoting healthy communities.

Download the Porch Light Manual to read an overview of the program model and learn how to replicate it in your city.

When you create that space to make something, it opens up another world

Dr. Meagan Corrado Public Health and Public Art

completed murals


in wages paid monthly to economically and housing insecure Philadelphians


community members engaged in the work annually

Current Partners (as of Summer 2023) 

  • School District of Philadelphia
  • Prevention Point Philadelphia
  • Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha
  • Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA)
  • Free Library of Philadelphia
  • Kensington Voice
  • American Foundation of Suicide Prevention
  • Adolescent Violence Reduction Partnership
  • The Welcoming Center for New Pennsylvanians
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
  • Horizon House
  • Oxford Circle Christian Community Development Association
  • African Cultural Alliance of North America, Inc.

How can I learn more? 

For more information on Porch Light or any individual Porch Light project, please contact program director Nadia Malik at nadia.malik@muralarts.org

Porch Light Hubs 

Southeast by Southeast

Kensington Storefront

Northeast Passage