Kensington Storefront

Working together toward community resilience

The Kensington Storefront, a Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Porch Light program, is excited to share that we are evolving our work and moving our space! 

After four years of operating at 2774 Kensington Ave., the Kensington Storefront has moved down the block to Community Center at Visitation, 2646 Kensington Ave. We are extremely proud of the work we have accomplished, providing support and artmaking opportunities to vulnerable residents, including those challenged by substance use and homelessness, and we look forward to expanding our initiatives at our new location. 

In addition to our home base at Community Center at Visitation, the Storefront also will have a mobile base to set up workshops in various locations throughout the Kensington neighborhood. The goal of the Kensington Storefront remains the same: engaging community members through a lens of behavioral health and artmaking. 

In 2021, the Kensington Storefront launched a community curator program, distributing grants to neighborhood residents chosen by the Storefront’s community advisory panel. The curators for the fall cycle are:

  • Neyda Rios, focusing on a resource fair with artmaking activities for her block on Madison Street
  • Kausar “Crip” Scruggs, conducting a six-week poetry workshop.
  • Jessica Shoffner, concentrating on monthly arts-and-crafts gatherings for children and families at the Hart Lane Farm.
  • Brenda Mosely is hosting a weekly support group for women who have suffered a loss or who experience traumatic stress.
  • Yuliana Cerezo, hosting weekly block clean-ups for community members on Westmoreland Street.

Mural Arts Philadelphia celebrated these community curators in September, and their programming will take place through the end of 2021. 

Mural Arts is also working with several partners to offer site-specific programming, including weekly arts-and-craft gatherings at HACE’s Casa Indiana; a weekly music circle at McPherson Library; afterschool arts, music, and wellness programming at Elkin Elementary; painting classes with Don Stephens at Juniata Park Older Adult Center; a mural project with Beacon House at Prevention Point Philadelphia; and afterschool programming at Community Center at Visitation. Any organizations or individuals interested in partnering with the Kensington Storefront on community programming are welcome to reach out to Pamela Draper at pamela.draper@muralarts.org.

Porch Light, a partnership of Mural Arts Philadelphia and the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services, aims to pair art programming with access to services. The Kensington Storefront is continually adding to our offerings. For updated information, please visit muralarts.org/program/porch-light/kensington-storefront/ or email pamela.draper@muralarts.org to be added to the quarterly Kensington Storefront newsletter.

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