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Painting to Help Banish Stigma

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

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Murals are at the center of a new mental health awareness program being launched in New York City, and the city is currently seeking proposals from artists who are interested in taking part.

The idea behind the New York City Mural Arts Program, which is scheduled to run from October 2016 through June 2017, is to create public art that calls attention to mental illness and creates a positive conversation about mental health challenges.

Part of Philadelphia's Porch Light Mural Arts Program

The North Philadelphia Beacon Project © 2013 City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program / James Burns. Broad Street and Lehigh Avenue. Photo by Steve Weinik.

Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program runs a similar project, called Porch Light, which engages mental health consumers with mural artists.

At the same time, the program aims to engage mental health consumers in the creation of the pieces themselves. Each artist chosen to undertake the project will work with a small group of people who have experienced mental illness, crafting a mural that reflects their experience.

Request for Proposals

The Mural Arts Project is being spearheaded by the Fund for Public Health in New York Inc., a public-private partnership that works with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. According to the New York Post, the project is funded by a grant from New York state’s Office of Mental Health.

The Fund for Public Health issued a request for proposals Aug. 19, with applications due Friday, Sept. 16. Successful applicants will be expected to hold weekly workshops with their group of mental health consumers, engage community members with open studio days, and involve the public in the production of the murals themselves.

The organization says it expects to hire three artists to work on the project.

One in Five

According to the Fund for Public Health, one in five adults in New York City experiences a mental health disorder each year. The mural project aims to change the perception and negative stigma related to mental illness.

Philadelphia’s Mural Arts Program runs a similar project, called Porch Light, which engages mental health consumers with mural artists. That program has seen more than 350 mental health consumers and more than 3,000 community members involved in its work, and has produced 27 murals over two years.


Tagged categories: Artists; Color + Design; Exterior painting; Murals; Public-private partnerships (P3)

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