PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – A project called Champions of Science: The Art of Ending Stigma is working to end the stigma connected to mental health struggles, through the power of art.
The public will be able to see some of these powerful artistic messages with Mural Arts of Philadelphia and some new work that’s about to go up.
The idea is that art can help transcend mental illnesses and lead to a better understanding of them.
“Art is a very motivating factor, it stimulates the mind to problem solve,” said artist Al Tull.
With each stroke, Al Tull feels healthier. After three decades of mental health struggles, addictions and being homeless, he got his life back through painting.
The piece he’s currently working on for the Mural Arts program is called “Almost Home.” Al created a self-portrait for the mural.
“I’m holding up my hand in victory,” said Tull. “This actual mural depicts homeless individuals and the community that’s welcoming me back into society.”
He’s part of the Mural Arts Porch Light Program that helps people struggling with mental health issues.
“We see the power that art has on people to connect them back to family, to community, to the world,” said Jane Golden, CEO of the Mural Arts Philadelphia.
Jane Golden is the founder and CEO of Mural Arts Philadelphia.
“People who never thought that they can make a mark on this city and they are doing it and you know what that does,” said Golden. “It helps lift up the stigma that hovers over people.”
The Art of Ending Stigma is a program from Janssen, Johnson and Johnson, that’s now supporting mural arts.
“The idea is to improve communication related to mental illness,” said Dr. Adam Savitz Janssen.
That’s why they’ve partnered with porch light which embraces the healing power of art.
“We want people to feel like mental illness is something that should be discussed, part of the community and not something that is kept hidden,” said Janssen. “We can overcome any kind of obstacles.”
For Al, mural arts has been a life changer.
“It builds up my self-esteem, it gives me a reason to continue to be on this path of recovery to stay focused,” said Tull.
That mural will be taken from the studio and transferred onto a building on Spring Garden Street.
In addition to supporting mural arts, the Champions of Science Program is accepting art depicting living with mental illness.
Submission can be made to the online gallery at artofendingstigma.com.
For more information on the Mural Arts Program, click here.