Scattergood Foundation

Advancing Innovative Strategies for Change in Behavioral Health

Grant Activity: Current Activity Impacting Communities

What is the Porch Light Initiative?

How do murals impact people's health and what people are we hoping to reach? Below you'll find FAQs about the Porch Light Initiative to help answer these questions. I'll also post some pictures of program in action at each of our partner sites to illustrate the kind of work our artists and participants engage in and create. Hopefully the connection between art and health will become less of a mystery to those looking in as you further explore Porch Light and our community-based efforts.


What is the Porch Light Initiative?

Mural Arts believes that art can improve the health of individuals and communities.  The Porch Light Initiative strives to put this belief into action. The Initiative partners with three behavioral health agencies to illuminate challenges individuals and communities face experiencing behavioral health issues and trauma. The Porch Light Initiative was piloted at JEVS ACT II (Jewish Employment and Vocational Services) between 2009 and 2010. During that time, Mural Arts found that holding weekly art workshops and installing a mural at the agency were powerful contributions to the individuals who frequented JEVS and the broader community. With the help from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual DisAbility Services and numerous other funders, Mural Arts is working to replicate and expand the work at JEVS around the city.

What are the goals of the Porch Light Initiative?

The Porch Light Initiative aims to build a team of artists, service providers, program participants, and other community and city-wide stakeholders to collaborate on a transformative public art project. The program strives to catalyze positive changes in the community, shed light on challenges faced by those with behavioral health issues, reduce stigma, and encourage empathy among community members. At each Porch Light site, Mural Arts strives to engage approximately 30 service recipients in the weekly workshops and welcomes any and all community members to participate in the Porch Light community events including health fairs, paint days, and community forums. In order to ensure we are meeting our goals, Mural Arts is carefully tracking program activities and individual and community outcomes.

How long does the program run?

Porch Light Initiative is a three year program. As of June 2012, we have completed our second year programming and are busy installing the murals at each site. Each year of the program, workshops are held between October and May. Community events such as forums, paint days, and celebrations are held throughout the program and the public art pieces (murals in most cases) are completed and installed during the summer. At the end of three years, Mural Arts will create a Porch Light “manual” including lessons learned, program activities, evaluation findings, and steps-to-success so other cities can replicate this ground-breaking program.

Where does the program run?

Year Two -- Year Two of the Porch Light Initiative took place in three zip codes: 19121, 19132, and 19140. Porch Light partnered with the following behavioral health agency in each zip code.

Asociación Puertorriqueños en Marcha (APM) – APM was founded by a group of Puerto Rican Vietnam veterans who returned from the war and found that their own community was in need of aid. Since its founding, APM has grown from a staff of five housed in a storefront on Germantown Avenue, to a broad network of social services offered at more than 10 sites throughout North Philadelphia. APM provides services in the areas of Health, Human Services and Community and Economic Development. Workshop Locations: 3263 N. Front Street, 19140,

Sobriety Through Outpatient (S.T.O.P.) – S.T.O.P.’s program design supports an integrated treatment model that focuses on recovery and wellness. The agency designed its programs to be holistically engaging to support consumers’ successful treatment program completion, recovery, medication compliance, and attentiveness to their physical wellness.  S.T.O.P. provides services in the areas of mental health, and drug & alcohol outpatient. S.T.O.P. has a variety of programming including art therapy, fitness training, and radio workshops. Incentives are built in to the agency’s programs including a free lunch program. Workshop Locations: 2534 N. Broad Street, 19132,

Project HOME - Project H.O.M.E. strives to empower adults, children, and families to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty, to alleviate the underlying causes of poverty, and to enable all of us to attain our fullest potential as individuals and as members of the broader society. Project HOME provides neighborhood-based affordable housing, economic development, employment opportunities; adult and youth education; and health care. Project H.O.M.E. provides a continuum of care comprised of street outreach, supportive housing, and health/human services. Workshop Locations: Hank Gathers Rec Center, 2501 W. Diamond Street, Philadelphia, PA, 19121,

Year Three -- In addition to continuing to work with APM and S.T.O.P., Porch Light is excited to welcome a new partner to the Initiative in Year Three: 11th Street Family Services of Drexel University located at 850 N. 11th Street, 19123.

11th Street Family Services of Drexel University - The mission of 11th Street Family Health Services Center is to provide quality, comprehensive health services to the clients it serves, with special attention to vulnerable people and residents of public housing units in the 11th Street Corridor. In addition to its direct services mission, 11th Street provides an exemplary model of nurse-managed, community-based care for the education of health professions students and for faculty practice. Today 11th Street uses a trans-disciplinary approach to deliver primary care, behavioral health, dental services, and health and wellness programs to more than 2,500 adult patients annually. Adults and children have a single point of access for care that addresses both the physiological and psycho-social aspects of the person and family. Workshop Locations: 850 N. 11th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19123,


Porch Light Timeline, Year Three

  • August and September, 2012 - Recruitment of participants and planning/training of agency staff
  • October , 2012 - Start of weekly workshops at each agency and Year Two mural dedications at each agency
  • October (through April), 2012 - Weekly workshops head at each agency
  • December, 2012 - First community engagement event including a small exhibit of products from weekly workshops and presentation of preliminary mural design
  • January, 2013 - Artists present mural design to Mural Arts in Design Reviews, and to agency staff, community, and program participants in a series of community forums called “Stakeholder Design Reviews”
  • February (through April) , 2013- Artists work with participants to project, outline, and paint mural
  • March, 2013 - Community engagement event or community forum in each community, themes based on program participants input and guidance
  • May, 2013 - Open Studios at each agency for community members to assist in the painting
  • June, 2013 - Installation of final murals in each community


Porch Light Contacts

Mural Arts Program,

Porch Light Initiative Program Manager: Sara Ansell,