Brushing Brilliance, NYC Health + Hospitals Seeks Artists For 2024 Community Mural Magic In Harlem

January 31, 2024

Our friends at Harlem Arts Alliance sent a message today about the Arts in Medicine department at NYC Health + Hospitals, with support from the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund.

Invites submissions for a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for artists to work on the NYC Health + Hospitals Arts in Medicine Community Murals Program.

The Community Mural Program stems directly from the tradition of the Depression-era Works Progress Administration (WPA) established in the 1930s when murals were commissioned for virtually every New York City public hospital. A number of additional murals were undertaken in subsequent decades.

The Community Mural Program was launched in 2019 to support healing environments across public hospitals and clinics, resulting in the realization of 34 murals over three years, spanning all five boroughs.

NYC Health + Hospitals Arts in Medicine programs include multiple arts disciplines, including literary, visual, and performing arts.

The Community Mural Program, a flagship of Arts in Medicine, connects artists, healthcare staff, and local community members to re-imagine hospitals and health centers and promote greater neighborhood wellness.

The Community Mural Program aims to enhance emotional well-being amongst the greater Health + Hospitals system and community, to promote healing and wellness for all patients and their families, and to stimulate employee engagement.


NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest municipal healthcare system in the United States. We provide essential inpatient, outpatient, and home-based services to more than one million New Yorkers every year in more than 70 locations across the city’s five boroughs.

The mission of the Arts in Medicine department at NYC Health + Hospitals is to encourage patients, families, employees, and our greater community to live their healthiest lives by promoting healing, wellness, and engagement through the arts and humanities.

2024 Community Mural Program

The Community Mural Program brings together local artists and community members to collaborate on transforming hospital environments and fostering a positive impact on neighborhood well-being. Our artists collaborate with patients, staff, and residents, creating integrated murals within or outside selected NYC Health + Hospitals sites.

The overarching goal is to forge cultural connections, uniting artists, patients, staff, and local residents to cultivate a strong sense of community and well-being. Research indicates the profound benefits of participating in art activities—leading to increased happiness, joy, and positive impacts on mental and physical health. Integrating arts into healthcare not only enhances patients’ clinical outcomes but also extends its benefits to healthcare providers, patients’ loved ones, and the broader community.

Request for Qualifications

NYC Health + Hospitals’ Arts in Medicine program is pleased to announce an open call for 5 community murals that will be realized in 2024.

“… create an integrated interior or exterior mural …”

Five (5) professional visual artists will be selected to engage with patients, staff, and local residents to create an integrated interior or exterior mural at selected NYC Health + Hospitals facilities.

The 2024 Community Mural Program consists of a collaborative mural-making process–including focus groups and paint parties–as a tool to build trust and engagement between the hospitals and the people who live and work in or near the health facility, clinical teams, and the patients and families treated in those facilities, to build neighborhood pride, and reduce the anxiety often associated with hospitals visits, Each artist will be paired with one of NYC Health + Hospitals facilities, and will be tasked to create a mural design based on the input of a focus group of the facility’s community members.

The final mural design will be approved in conjunction with the focus group members.

“… community art workshop, a paint party, and a ribbon cutting …”

Mural Artists will be required to be on-site for three (3) public events including a community arts workshop, a paint party, and a ribbon cutting.

Additionally, they are expected to participate in two (2) in-person focus group meetings; present their final mural design to the facility CEO; prepare mural panels and paint in advance of the paint party, complete painting the mural afterward, and be present at the installation of the mural for touch-ups.

The time required for preparation, finishing, and installation will be dependent on mural size and detail. Each mural project will be executed over three (3) months, on a rolling basis between April through September 2024.

The NYC Health + Hospitals facility will choose its start date and mural artists may be paired accordingly.

Finalists will be invited to participate in an interview on either February 28, 29, or March 1, 2024

Selected artists will be required to attend a 1-2 hour virtual training and onboarding the week of March 4, 2024, and an in-person orientation on March 14, 2024

Artists are expected to develop mural concepts, themes, and imagery by engaging with the H + H staff, patients, and greater community during virtual Focus Groups and CEO Presentations.

Designs will not be considered final until approved by the facility CEO. The CEO will be asked to limit rounds of revisions to a maximum of two (2).

Project Budget

Selected artists will receive an honorarium of $10,000 and an additional $1,000 for travel and other incidentals. The $10,000 honorarium covers artist fees including design services, community engagement, site preparation, fabrication, and participation in installation. NYC Health + Hospitals Arts in Medicine Department will provide the necessary paint, brushes, polytab, and mural installation services and provide any necessary supplies, permits, insurance, and documentation. NYC Health + Hospitals Arts in Medicine department will also execute a deliverables-based memorandum of understanding valued at $10,000 and will be paid half after the initial focus group meeting, and the remaining half upon completion.

Who May Apply

Professional visual artists or artist teams legally authorized to work in the United States who are at least 18 years of age are eligible to apply. Artists with ties to neighborhoods and communities of the participating NYC Health + Hospitals facilities are encouraged to apply, as well as artists who have experience with community engagement. Experience creating large-scale murals is a plus.

NYC Health + Hospitals is committed to the values of inclusion and advancing diversity in the field of arts and health. We highly encourage applicants who are traditionally underrepresented* to submit to this RFQ.

*Including, but not limited to: Immigrant, Indigenous, LGBTQIA, Person of Color, Person with Disability, and Socioeconomic Disadvantage.

Applications are due Sunday, February 4, 2024, at 11:59 pm EST (more info)

Apply Here

Photo credit: HHA.

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