NYC Public Health Systems Arts In Medicine Program Expands To Another Year

NYC Health + Hospitals’ Arts in Medicine program today announced the third group of artists that will lead community-based mural projects at nine facilities.

The artists, chosen from 131 applications, will engage patients, staff, and local community residents to create an integrated internal or external mural at NYC Health + Hospitals facilities.

In a truly collaborative approach, the concepts for each of the murals will be developed through individual, virtual focus groups with patients, residents, staff, and community members, and then brought to life by the hospital community in designated paint parties.

With the third installment of the Community Murals Project, each of the system’s 11 hospitals, 5 skilled-nursing facilities, and additional Gotham Health community health clinics will have received a mural, touching many of the communities served.  Collaborations will occur between March and September 2021.

The project is a flagship component of NYC Health + Hospitals’ arts-based initiatives, made possible through the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.

“Arts in Medicine is an exciting example of the innovation that is possible when unlikely partners employ their expertise and experience and work together to address a complex challenge,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “Everyone wins with this kind of collaboration, and it is deeply needed as people begin to recover from the loss and suffering caused by COVID-19. This next installment of community murals will inspire all who are involved, and strengthen relationships between hospitals and the communities they serve.”

“I’m proud to be able to announce the next installment of our Community Murals Project, especially considering the healing our city needs in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Senior Vice President and Chief Quality Officer Eric Wei, MD, MBA. “It’s been incredible to see communities come together as we’ve fought against this awful virus, and this project will further help our colleagues, patients, neighbors, and friends reflect on the past year and celebrate our resilience as a city.”

“We are pleased to support the expansion of the Community Murals Project to include all the hospitals, long-term care facilities and many of the community health centers in the system. This project was conceived before the pandemic as a way to relieve stress and strengthen the bonds between hospital workers, patients, and the surrounding community,” said Laurie M. Tisch, Founder and President of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund. “The murals aim to foster pride in the hospital and provide beauty, comfort, and solace to all. It was needed then, but it is even more important now, when the pandemic has created unimaginable stress and misery for everyone working in the hospitals, and for our whole society. This expansion of the program came naturally because we wanted all the facilities to share in the joy of making and working with art that will last many years into the future and remind everyone that there is beauty available even in this dark moment in our history.”

Last year, 11 artists led the process to develop murals in 10 facilities that were representative of their communities.

The collaborative mural-making process is a tool to encourage creativity, build trust and engagement between the hospitals and their communities, reduce stigma, and foster pride in the public health system through community-building activities, which all has taken a new meaning as the City continues to fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The artists and their assigned NYC Health + Hospitals facilities are:

The artists were selected through a rigorous process. Criteria included:

  • Demonstration of prior collaborative community engagement
  • Artistic excellence through a portfolio review
  • Understanding of how to work with materials suitable for a healthcare setting
  • Application of one of five proposed central themes, which included Heart & Soul, Health Care Heroes, Power of Community, Thrive, and Grit
  • An interview with members of the selection committee
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All components of the Community Murals Project will take under account all necessary COVID-19 safety protocols, including virtual brainstorming sessions with community members and socially distant paint parties that will accommodate participants in shifts according to available space.

“I am pleased to see a continued commitment to NYC Health + Hospitals’ Arts in Medicine Program and I look forward to seeing Natasha Platt’s mural installation at NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, East New York,” said Senator Roxanne J. Persaud. “The portfolios of these selected artists are quite impressive.  Their work on these new community-driven murals will bring more brilliance to the fabric of our city.”

The Community Murals Project is made possible with a grant from the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund through the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. The fund awarded NYC Health + Hospitals a total of $1.5 million in February 2019 to expand programs serving health care staff, patients, and communities in sites across the City.

This grant allows NYC Health + Hospitals to launch new programs that use the arts as a resource to promote employee wellness and resilience; to combat compassion fatigue and burnout.

The Arts in Medicine program at NYC Health + Hospitals seeks to foster the emotional well-being, promote healing, wellness, and engagement of patients, families, employees, and the greater health system’s community by integrating all disciplines of the arts such as literary, visual and performing arts throughout the public hospital system.

NYC Health + Hospitals curates the largest public art collection in New York City and is committed to preserving more than 5,000 works of art and making them accessible to the public.

The history of the art collection dates back to the 1930s, when the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project hired artists to create works for government buildings.

NYC Health + Hospitals was the fortunate recipient of approximately 60 mural panels. Today, the organization recognizes the historic and cultural significance of these murals and works to preserve them.

To learn more about the programs that are a part of NYC Health + Hospitals’ Arts in Medicine, please visit https://www.nychealthandhospitals.org/artsinmedicine/.

NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest public health care system in the nation serving more than a million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient care locations across the city’s five boroughs.

A robust network of outpatient, neighborhood-based primary and specialty care centers anchors care coordination with the system’s trauma centers, nursing homes, post-acute care centers, home care agency, and MetroPlus health plan—all supported by 11 essential hospitals.

Its diverse workforce of more than 42,000 employees is uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest life possible.

For more information, visit www.nychealthandhospitals.org

The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund is a New York City-based foundation that strives to improve access and opportunity for all New Yorkers and foster healthy and vibrant communities.

Founded in 2007 by philanthropist Laurie M. Tisch, the Illumination Fund plays an active role in supporting innovative approaches across a range of issues—increasing access to healthy food, building healthy communities, supporting economic opportunity and ensuring that arts and arts education are accessible to all.

In 2018, the Illumination Fund launched Arts in Health, a $10-million-dollar, multi-year initiative to support organizations working on health issues that impact New York communities and that emphasize the arts as a tool for healing and building understanding.

The areas of focus include addressing mental health stigma, trauma, and aging-related diseases. For more information, visit www.lmtif.org or follow @LMTischFund on Twitter.

Photo credit: The work of Angel Garcia, NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem.

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