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Mural Arts and Mental Health Providers Show Value of Art As Therapy

(Credit: Paul Kurtz)

(Credit: Paul Kurtz)

Paul Kurtz Paul Kurtz
Paul Kurtz is a Philadelphia native who has been working as a reporter...
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By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A North Philadelphia public health center is celebrating works of art created by more than two dozen patients at the facility.

The windows at the 11th Street Family Health Services of Drexel University now feature etchings of medicinal plants (photo below), while down the street, on the ground outside a public school (top photo), passersby can gaze at large murals that reflect the hopes and dreams of the approximately 30 patients who use art to help chase away their demons.

“Depression, stress, anxiety, and everything,” recalls client Ethel Wells (in photo below), who says the Mural Arts Program’s Porch Light program took her to a better place.

“I just started scribbling,” she says.  “I relaxed and sat down and started drawing. And I said, you know what, this is health.  I felt like a new person. I was on my edge.”

(Ethel Wells, near the etched windows of 11th Street Family Health Services.  Credit: Paul Kurtz)

(Ethel Wells, near the etched windows of 11th Street Family Health Services. Credit: Paul Kurtz)


Mural Arts Program executive director Jane Golden says Porch Light has the endorsement of the city’s Department of Behavioral Health and its Intellectual disAbility Services.

“This integrated model of therapy and art works,” Golden said today.  “I’m so inspired and I want to make sure we keep doing this for years to come.”


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