Sep 1, 2011

Porch Light Celebrates Achievements With Project H.O.M.E.

by: Laura Edgar

On Saturday, August 27, 2011, residents of Project H.O.M.E., community members, artists, and other guests attended a special gathering to celebrate the completion of the first year of the Porch Light Initiative. Through a series of public art projects the Porch Light Initiative strives to improve behavioral health in Philadelphia neighborhoods. Braving the promise of an impending hurricane, participants showcased their artwork and transformation in a carefully-composed, museum-like exhibit.

Stepping into the Installation Room, guests were greeted by colorful origami boxes dangling from the ceiling. Sculptures lined the tables and walls, taking the form of clay masks or paper houses flickering with light; every piece looked as if it held a story.

For five months, about 15 program participants met with a team of talented artists for a series of structured workshops. The core group was usually comprised of children of the adults placed in the residence of Project H.O.M.E., but occasionally parents attended. Artists Keir Johnston, Colette Fu, Perry Vision, and Nina Lyrispect brought their expertise and energy, providing instruction in spoken word, poetry, origami, screen printed shirts, clay sculpture, painting, and other mediums. Further adding to the experience, guest artists sometimes instructed the group; including a tap dancer and a magician, to name a few.

Like much of Mural Arts’ programming, the art that was produced by the Porch Light Initiative is not the only element of this story. The featured pieces represented a larger, personal process and evolution that occurred over the months-long journey for each member the group. As described by the artists, the most notable outcome of the project was the growth of the group; once quiet, at the end they freely encouraged each other to share and articulate the feelings they were more apt to hide, or may not have even known existed.

On Saturday, the mutual respect between artist and student was evident in the celebration as Nina, and later a student, passionately recited their spoken word pieces to an engaged audience. Later, plans for the continuation of the Porch Light Initiative were announced, including a new mural project planned for Ridge Avenue to be installed in the spring of 2012 during phase two of the Porch Light Initiative.

Last updated: Mar 21, 2016

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