Mural Projects

Porch Light is built on the idea of creating public art with communities that focuses on their stories of resilience and helps them work through mental health and behavioral health struggles. Every year, the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services provides funding for what we call our “Signature Project.” These projects highlight a specific area of our work and allow for a deeper dive into one arena. 

Beyond Signature Projects, Porch Light also works in a variety of arenas that don’t fit in with our Storefronts, Color Me Back or our provider site work. These can be ideas such as a series of projects that concentrate specifically on Kensington or a mural series that highlights the AAPI community in Philadelphia. Browse through the various projects Porch Light has taken on in the past few years, and find more information at

Community Meeting for We Here at Cantina la Martina, April 6, 2023. Photo by Steve Weinik.

We Here 

We here is an art project in Kensington led by artist Roberto Lugo and a Community Advisory Council, focusing on youth, creativity and pottery. This community-engaged art project aims to expand access to the arts in Kensington. During Fall 2023-Spring 2024, We Here will hold pattern-making and pottery workshops with Kensington school groups and residents. In Summer 2024, the project will culminate with the installation of three large-scale outdoor sculptures designed by Lugo, with contributions and feedback from community residents, at public sites in Kensington. A series of public programs and storytelling events will take place during June-October 2024. Major support of We Here has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional support from Hummingbird Foundation and the City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services. 

Our Land, Our Movment workshop at The Re-Entry Community Farm, August 16, 2023. Photo by Erin Blewett.

Our Land, Our Movement 

Our Land, Our Movement is a public art project focused on healing our bodies and lands. Led by artist Marguerite Hemmings, this expansive series engages with communities living in West Philly, Olney and Chinatown who feel disconnected/unsafe/restricted from their bodies and neighborhoods. During the summer and fall of 2023, community members can participate in free workshops by urban farmers and artist organizers, witness performances by teens in public spaces, and attend a dedication revealing new public artwork. 

The Black Paradise Project 

With support from the Mural Arts Program of Philadelphia’s Porch Light program and the city’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services, the Black Paradise Project partnered with Black-owned businesses, organizations, and individuals to host monthly joy-based events.

Spaces were created for Black people to experience relief through self-care. The Black Paradise Project was inspired by the historic Paradise Park, near Silver Springs, Florida. Paradise Park was an all Black resort and a haven for the Black community from 1949 to 1969. The park provided refuge to vacation and cope with the harsh racial violence occurring at the time.

Fifty-two years later, the Black Paradise Project aims to provide spaces for the same reasons. Created by visual artist Yannick Lowery and counseling psychologist, Dr. Kimberly Marie Ashby, the Black Paradise Project aims to mitigate the mental health consequences of exposure to racism by providing opportunities for Black people to share their experiences and engage in joy.

The Trust Project © 2021 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / Creative Resilience Collective, Harrowgate Park, 3455 Kensington Avenue. Photo by Steve Weinik.

Kensington Trust Project 

The Trust Project weaves together reflections on community life in Kensington and Harrowgate. A crowd-sourced poem captures memories, observations and thoughts on what makes these neighborhoods special. Lifted into the sky, the poem casts colorful shadows on the ground below, while encouraging Harrowgate Park visitors to look up and out from their immediate surroundings. 

The Trust Project was guided by the need to acknowledge the challenges faced and strength demonstrated by Kensington and Harrowgate communities. Despite difficult conversations about public space, belonging and care that have put some residents at odds with one another, a sense of mutual support prevails between neighbors. 

Reflect © 2023 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / Kien Nguyen, Stavros Niarchos Foundation, Athens Greece. Photo by Steve Weinik.

Porch Light in Athens  

In 2023, the Porch Light team was invited to share its community-engaged mural process at the SNF Nostos Conference in Athens, Greece. The Stavros Niarchos Foundation has long been a supporter of Porch Light work. The annual conference focused on mental health, and the engagement for the mural pieces at the conference asked three questions: How would you describe your mental health in three words? What brings you down? What actions do you take to make yourself feel better mentally? Responses were gathered through a survey before the conference and by inviting in-person participation over the three days in Athens. Philadelphia artists Kien Nguyen and Athens artist Yassonas Megoulas (Cacao Rocks) designed and painted five interactive pieces on cubes. Nguyen’s designs illustrated mental health in three themes: Reflect, Connect and Heal.

Unity in Diversity © 2021 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / Winnie Sidharta Ambron, Hardena, 1754 South Hicks Street. Photo by Steve Weinik.

AAPI Series 

Through a partnership with the Mayor’s Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs and the Managing Director’s Office. The series intends to highlight the presence and contributions of the AAPI communities in Philadelphia and to reduce stigma toward the populations. The first mural in the series is Unity in Diversity by Winnie Sidharta, located at Hardena restaurant at 1754 S. Hicks St. The mural focuses on Indonesian, Cambodian and Vietnamese populations. It tells the story of the Southeast Asian immigrant experience, showcasing traditional design and art along with depictions of life in Philadelphia. 

The second mural in the series is we dreamt an orchard this way by GIna Kim. It’s located on the second story of Vietnam Restaurant in Chinatown at 221 N. 11th St. The mural focuses on the importance of Chinatown and was created with engagement partners Philadelphia Chinatown Development Corporation (PCDC) and Asian Arts Initative. 

The third mural is currently being planned for the Olney neighborhood at Fern Rock Hardware Store at 5957 N. 5th St. The project will focus on solidarity between the neighborhood’s Asian and Black communities and is being shaped by a mural advisory council composed of eight civic leaders from the Olney neighborhood. The co-lead artists for this project are Kien Nguyen and Monica Mathieu. 

The murals have been funded by the City of Philadelphia, Callahan Ward, Stavros Niarchos Foundation and the City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services. 

Lots of Lots of Love mural dedication and block party, June 3, 2022. Photo by Steve Weinik.


Beyond work in the Kensington Storefront, the Porch Light department has a deep commitment to the Kensington neighborhood. That commitment has included building partnerships with organizations such as Impact Services, NKCDC and Prevention Point. Browse through for various projects that have taken place in Kensington through the Porch Light Department.