In practice, art therapy is often concerned with gaining access to and making sense of the ‘inner world’ and the ways in which it influences relationships in the external world. Jane Golden and Nadia Malik discuss Mural Arts Philadelphia’s Porch Light program, a joint collaboration with the City of Philadelphia’s Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services, which focuses on achieving universal health and wellness among Philadelphians, especially those dealing with mental health issues or trauma, by providing opportunities to contribute to meaningful works of public art. Jane Golden has been the driving force of Mural Arts Philadelphia since its inception in 1984, overseeing its growth from a small city agency into the nation’s largest public art program and a global model for transforming public space and community through art. Under Golden’s direction, Mural Arts has created over 4,000 works of public art through innovative collaborations with community-based organizations, city agencies, nonprofit organizations, schools, the private sector, and philanthropies.

Nadia is the director of the Porch Light Program at Mural Arts Philadelphia. She completed masters degrees in Social Work and Nonprofit Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania. Previously, she worked as a journalist in the suburbs of Chicago and with several national nonprofits. Her nonprofit involvement has been in international and domestic policy for refugees, facilitating community involvement and communication at religious centers, and working with development departments on media and education projects. The Porch Light Program offers Nadia an opportunity to combine her love of art and writing with her passion for community work, particularly in the arena of mental health. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at

Murals and Mental Health | Jane Golden & Nadia Malik | TEDxDrexelU