Kensington Storefront

Working together toward community resilience

Update on the Kensington Storefront 

On behalf of Mural Arts Philadelphia, and all of our community partners and stakeholders, we are writing with an update about the important work of the Kensington Storefront and our future plans.

Due to the pandemic and zoning restrictions, Mural Arts was forced to pause public programs at the Storefront since March 2020. During this time, our staff has taken the opportunity to talk to numerous neighbors, residents and representatives from our partner organizations about the Storefront’s impact.

We have been proud of the work we’ve done in the past four years to provide support and artmaking opportunities to vulnerable residents, including those in the midst of substance use and experiencing homelessness. We are extremely thankful to the staff and artists who came to work every day with a smile on their faces despite working in the midst of complex circumstances. We are eager to build on this work and enter a new chapter for the storefront.

In an effort to reach more groups and different populations in the community, we have been expanding our virtual programming through new partnership collaborations in the neighborhood and plan to bring our in-person arts and wellness programs to various locations in the Spring and Summer, as COVID-19 restrictions change. We are also planning for several murals and public art projects to engage with the community and beautify the neighborhood.

At the moment, we are offering virtual and in-person art programming at Juniata Park Older Adult Center and McVeigh Recreation Center (in conjunction with Parks and Rec), the Veterans program at Impact, the McPherson Square branch of the library, Covenant House, NKCDC’s Orinoka Civic House and Coral Street, Prevention Point Philadelphia, the Last Stop, the Papermill Community of Artists and the Step Up to the Plate outdoor meal site at Ruth and Clearfield. We are also planning an installation in Harrowgate Park following a year of engagement with neighborhood residents. That installation will be commemorated with a community fair in June.

To see our full list of programs, which will be continually updated, check back here.

Our aspiration is to find a new space in the neighborhood where we can continue our deep commitment to the community of Kensington. We thank you for your continued support as we expand our work and continue to build on the amazing programs that were launched four years ago at 2774 Kensington Ave. We look forward to continuing our partnerships and our impact that stems from community needs and community engagement.

To close our time at our current space, we will be hosting a block cleanup and open air art show on March 30. The cleanup will begin at 10 a.m., and we will feature artwork made in the storefront at 1:30 p.m. at 2774 Kensington Avenue and Tusculum Square Park.

Thank you for believing in us and the power of change that art can ignite. We hope you can participate in some of our current virtual programs and look forward to having you involved in the future. As always, our goal is to bring accessibility of the arts to everyone. With the partnership of the city’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS), we will continue to pair art programming with access to social services through Mural Arts’ Porch Light Program.

If you would like to be part of community advisory meetings, receive newsletters, or if you work with a facility that would benefit from arts engagement, please feel free to get in touch with Pamela Draper, program manager, at pamela.draper@muralarts.org.


 

NOW ACCEPTING COMMUNITY ARTIST APPLICATIONS 

Community Artist Application

About the Hub 

The Kensington Storefront builds on the work done in other parts of Porch Light, an ongoing partnership between Mural Arts, and the City’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIdS). Over the past five years, Mural Arts has expanded its impact in neighborhoods with the development and maintenance of storefront hubs, such as Southeast by Southeast in South Philadelphia, and Northeast Passage in Northeast Philadelphia. These physical spaces have paved the way for better connections with local communities and organizations, thanks to a dedicated footprint and extended time for interactions with staff and artists.

There are many organizations engaged in Kensington, all working toward uplifting the resilience of a community fractured by substance use, crime, and housing insecurity. The storefront serves as a workshop for visiting artists, a safe space for neighbors, and a learning hub for anyone interested in art-making, personal and public safety, or self-care—but it also serves as a hub for area organizations, with the intention of working more effectively together. Public programming at the storefront and in various locations throughout Kensington creates opportunities for community members to speak for themselves in a profoundly public way, and connects individuals to organizations that provide services and referrals that they might not otherwise encounter.

Hub Calendar 

 

Recent Press 

Billy Penn: Mural Arts closing Kensington arts center next to Somerset Station, with vows to relaunch elsewhere
Philadelphia Inquirer: Can this tiny storefront save Philly’s most drug-ravaged neighborhood?
Philadelphia Citizen: A PORCH LIGHT IN KENSINGTON
NewsWorks: Combatting opioids with paint: Mural Arts sets up shop in heart of epidemic
Fox 29: Porch Light for artists trying to make Kensington brighter in every way

Partners 

Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIdS)
Independence Blue Cross
New Kensington Community Development Corporation (NKCDC)
Prevention Point

Funders 

Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services
Department of Licenses & Inspections
Drug Enforcement Administration Philadelphia Field Division
Hummingbird Foundation
National Endowment for the Arts
Stavros Niarchos Foundation
TD Charitable Foundation