New York, NY: NYC Health + Hospitals’ Arts in Medicine program on April 5, 2023, announced the selection of 10 artists to create new murals at its facilities as part of the NYC Health + Hospitals Community Mural Project. The artists will design the murals through focus groups with patients, staff, and neighborhood residents, followed by community “paint parties” to create the mural. Selected from among 130 applicants, the artists include a mosaic artist, an augmented reality muralist, and a photomural artist. Decades of research have shown that the arts can play a role in “healing the healers” as well as improving patient outcomes and forging community health awareness and partnerships. The new murals will build on the 26 murals created in the first wave of the Community Mural Project and recently featured in a new book, Healing Walls: New York City Health + Hospitals Community Mural Project 2019-2021. The Community Mural Project and several other Arts in Medicine programs at NYC Health + Hospitals are possible with a grant from the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund.
“Arts programming is part of a systemwide strategy to encourage a culture of healing for our patients, families and employees,” said Eric Wei, MD, MBA, Senior Vice President and Chief Quality Officer at NYC Health + Hospitals. “These uplifting murals are intentionally placed in busy corridors, clinics, and staff spaces to empower and engage our community.”
“The murals bring joy, they bring happiness, they bring self-awareness, and the Project brings a sense of community and of working together,” said Laurie M. Tisch, President of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund.
“Murals provide an immersive experience that directly contribute to the overall health for the people around them,” said Larissa Trinder, Assistant Vice President of Arts in Medicine at NYC Health + Hospitals. “In healthcare, research has shown that a person’s physical environment is important by providing a soothing and calming experience that correlates with better health outcomes. The Arts in Medicine community mural artists install joyful, bright and hopeful murals as an additional avenue to support public health.”
The Community Mural Project is believed to be the country’s largest public hospital mural program since the 1930s, when the depression-era Works Progress Administration (WPA) commissioned murals in public buildings, including virtually every hospital in New York City’s public healthcare system. The WPA murals were the start of NYC Health + Hospitals art collection, which now is the city’s largest public art collection and includes more than 7,000 pieces of art of multiple disciplines. The art collection is used to enhance the healthcare environment, inspire creativity, promote wellness, increase access to the arts, and engage staff.
The following artists were selected for the latest round of the Community Mural Project:
NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln
DISTER is an artist, dancer, and choreographer. He founded the international collective I LOVE MY HOOD, which includes artists, educators, and activists who are dedicated to serving the greater good through Hip-Hop. His work is invested in providing free public art spanning across New York City.
NYC Health + Hospitals/North Central Bronx
Roy is a New York City-based public artist who creates large-scale abstract paintings, sculptures, glass, mosaics, terrazzo, and graphic arts. He is the first mosaic artist selected for NYC Health + Hospitals’ Community Mural Project and a longtime patient of NYC Health + Hospitals system at multiple locations, including North Central Bronx hospital.
NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County
Jodi is an artist, songwriter, and video producer. She was born at NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County and now lives in Staten Island. Her art focuses on diverse communities working together, important issues in the black community, and women’s rights, and it is in the style of pop art and comic book realism.
NYC Health + Hospitals/South Brooklyn Health
Kristy is a muralist, teaching artist, and community organizer who paints under the name “D.Gale.” Her art focuses on building community and raising awareness about social and environmental issues. She is a founding member of the Harlem Art Collective and has worked internationally, including in indigenous communities in Peru and Ecuador, where she co-founded an annual public art festival.
NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler
Rachel is a photographer, writer, and educator based in Newark, NJ. Primarily known for documenting public art and collaborating with visual artists, she is developing the first photomural for NYC Health + Hospitals’ Community Mural Project.
NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health, Sydenham
Stephanie is a Brooklyn-based artist and teaching artist. Her art is inspired by the energy and architecture of cities, revealing ways in which the urban environment shapes social life, imagination, and memory.
NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan
Yukiko is a Japanese muralist and graphic designer based in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Her art includes elements of her home country’s culture and design. Her art aims to counteract anxiety and loneliness by creating spaces that are bright and welcoming.
NYC Health + Hospitals/Carter
Ji Yong is an artist and teacher based in Sunset Park, Brooklyn. His art combines Buddhist iconography with pop culture imagery, influenced by his upbringing in Myanmar and South Korea.
NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem
Tijay is a Bronx-based artist and teacher. His work is inspired by his Ghanaian heritage, and he maintains a studio in Yonkers and in Ghana. He has exhibited his works nationally and internationally, and also organizes workshops and community-based projects for museums, youth groups, and schools.
NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens
Zeehan is a New York City-based artist who creates painting, sculpture, choreography, and creative new media. He immigrated from Libya as a child and grew up in Jamaica, Queens. His art is inspired by graffiti and dance, and he is the first augmented reality artist selected for NYC Health + Hospitals’ Community Mural Project.
The Community Mural Project creates opportunities for hospital staff to collaborate with each other and with neighbors, relieve stress, and enhance the physical environment of the facilities. Healthcare worker burnout is a national health crisis, and the continuing COVID-19 pandemic has created mental health challenges across New York City, especially in low-income, immigrant and historically excluded communities, which are significant patient populations for NYC Health + Hospitals.