Mental Health Effects of Racism (Ongoing Project)

Mental Health Effects of Racism (Ongoing Project)

This Deadline Expired: Friday, May 28, 2021

Request for Proposals!

Concept and Summary:

Mural Arts Philadelphia and the City of Philadelphia Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services (DBHIDS), in collaboration as the Porch Light program, are seeking to partner Black artists with Black mental health clinicians to engage with communities throughout Philadelphia and create a public artwork on the topic of mental health and racism.

Studies have shown far-reaching psychological effects of experiencing racism and anti-Blackness. These effects include increased stress, anxiety and depression, which can lead to increased susceptibility to chronic illnesses as well as the potential for other consequences, such as post-traumatic stress disorder and substance use disorders. These effects have the potential to be passed down from generation to generation.

This project would look to highlight not only these mental health impacts of racism but also the sources of strength that come from communities and individuals.

This project has two main components: The artist-mental health clinician team will be expected to design and lead public conversations and art activities, which will culminate in a work of permanent or temporary public art (a public-facing piece that is generated through public engagement). Examples have included, but are not limited to, murals, film festivals, and installations. The clinician(s) will provide context on mental health and help train the artists on creating a safe environment to hold these conversations. The project will also include a symposium after unveiling of the public art to disseminate learning from the process.

Our goal is for the artist and clinician team to work collaboratively to shape the project, including the title, the avenues for engagement and the public artwork. Porch Light will provide a framework, logistical support and funding for this project, and both Porch Light and DBHIDS will provide behavioral health resources and support. 

Mural Arts and the DBHIDS are seeking individual artists and clinicians or artist-clinician teams to apply. Artists may specialize in any form of art-making, such as muralism, film, photography, creative storytelling or poetry, that is appropriate for presentation in public space. Mental health clinicians must have, at minimum, masters level training in social work, psychology, psychiatry or a related field.

Applications are due by email to nadia.malik@muralarts.org by 5 pm on Friday, May 28, 2021.

Project Components:

The goal of Porch Light is to provide access and resources for mental and behavioral health in unique ways. In conjunction with Porch Light, this project will aim for:

Project Fees:

The artist and clinician team selected to lead this project will receive $30,000 total to cover planning, engagement, design creation, installation, and participation in the symposium. Fee breakdown will be determined after the team is selected and after the scope of work for each member is established. Separate funds (approximately another $30,000) will be available for project supplies, meeting costs and assistant artists, if necessary.

Team Responsibilities:

Mural Arts Responsibilities:

Porch Light and Mural Arts staff will purchase and deliver supplies, secure necessary permissions for community events, provide support at community engagement, secure necessary permissions for public artwork sites, and provide all other logistical support.

Project and Artist Selection Schedule (timeline is subject to change dependent on input from artist team):

Applications Due: May 28, 2021

Finalists Selected and Interviewed: June 1 to June 4, 2021

Team Selection: June 11, 2021

Project Development and Engagement: June 2021 to August 2021

Design: August 2021 to September 2021

Installation: September to October 2021

Completion, Dedication and Symposium: TBD

(This is an aspirational schedule for engagement, design and installation; however, adjustments can be made to fit the team.)

Artist Selection Criteria:

Mental Health Clinician Selection Criteria:

How to Apply:

Please send the following to Nadia Malik at nadia.malik@muralarts.org with the subject line “Porch Light 2021 Signature Project”:

  1. Statement of Interest (maximum two pages/minimum one paragraph), including suggestions for community engagement goals and approaches you would like to explore in this project, plus relevant experience that would contribute to this project. This statement can also include general goals for being involved in this project.
  2. Current resume or list of projects/relevant experience.
  3. For artists: Contact information for two references that can speak to your ability to successfully create a project like this.
  4. For artists: Five to ten digital images of your work that give a sense of skill and approach to this project.
  5. For clinicians: Provide examples of your experience in leading difficult conversations and/or experience in training others.
  6. For clinicians: Contact information for two references that can speak to your experience in leading difficult conversations and training others.


Artist and clinician teams can apply together or separately. Please note that if you apply separately, it is with the assumption that you will be paired with an artist or clinician, respectively. Any questions can be directed to Nadia Malik at nadia.malik@muralarts.org. Questions and concerns prior to applying are welcome and encouraged.

Fran Lightman Gibson

Fran Lightman Gibson a Philadelphia painter working primarily with oil on canvas.
I attribute the source of my artistic…

Fran Lightman Gibson a Philadelphia painter working primarily with oil on canvas.
I attribute the source of my artistic inspiration to my love, fear, and awe of nature as it both represents and defines…

Fran Lightman Gibson a Philadelphia painter working primarily with oil on canvas.
I attribute the source of my artistic inspiration to my love, fear, and awe of nature as it both represents and defines the tension and optimism…

Leora Brecher
Jason Lee Starin
JaySquid (Jamin Guinyard)
Jay Walker

Raised in South Texas, Jay Walker received a BFA in Studio Art from Texas A&M in 2004, then went on to receive an MFA…

Raised in South Texas, Jay Walker received a BFA in Studio Art from Texas A&M in 2004, then went on to receive an MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, PA in 2006. Since then,…

Raised in South Texas, Jay Walker received a BFA in Studio Art from Texas A&M in 2004, then went on to receive an MFA from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia, PA in 2006. Since then, he has created…

previous arrow
next arrow
Slider