NYC Health + Hospitals unveils new community mural at Carter facility

NYC Health + Hospitals on December 7, 2023 unveiled a new mural as part of the Community Mural Project run by the health system’s Arts in Medicine department. Today’s mural, Chromatic Symphony of Greater Harlem at NYC Health + Hospitals/Carter, was developed by artist Ji Yong Kim through a series of focus groups with community members, staff and patients and brought to life at a paint party where the community was invited to paint the mural together. Chromatic Symphony of Greater Harlem is one of nine new murals that have been created this year, building on the 26 murals created in the first wave of the Community Mural Project, which are featured in a new book, Healing Walls: New York City Health + Hospitals Community Mural Project 2019-2021This program is made possible through the generous support of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund. 

  

Chromatic Symphony of Greater Harlem celebrates the diverse and rich history of Harlem, paying tribute to the neighborhoods surrounding NYC Health + Hospitals/Carter. The mural presents a kaleidoscope of elements representing the area’s cultural heritage. The artist spotlights the dedicated hospital workers, flanked by a Bomba dancer on the left and a tap dancer on the right. Around these central figures, musical instruments, street scenes, historical figures, modes of transportation, and a profusion of plants and flowers collectively reflect the richness of Latin cultures in the neighborhood. Chromatic Symphony of Greater Harlem celebrates the community’s heritage, achievements and struggles, highlighting their profound contributions to various facets of life, including art, music, literature, politics, and social justice. 

  

“NYC Health + Hospitals/Carter is an anchor in the Harlem community, providing essential inpatient, outpatient and home-based services to all who need them regardless of their circumstances,” said Rick Luftglass, executive director of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund. “Ji Yong Kim’s mural showcases and celebrates the diversity and vibrant culture of the neighborhood. It is a powerful example of how NYC Health + Hospitals’ Arts in Medicine department uses the arts to benefit all. Chromatic Symphony of Greater Harlem will bring joy and comfort to everyone who sees it. We are proud to have supported its creation.”  

  

“NYC Health + Hospitals/Carter serves a special patient population that takes great pride in their community,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Assistant Vice President Larissa Trinder. “Artist Ji Yong Kim’s approach encompassed this pride and the core values of NYC Health + Hospitals. He was able to incorporate staff and patient feedback into a mural that reflects their shared experience and journey. We believe Chromatic Symphony of Greater Harlem will positively impact the health of those that are fortunate enough to be in its presence.”   

  

“I am appreciative that the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund has partnered with our public health system to recognize the benefits of incorporating arts in healthy living,” said NYC Health + Hospitals/Carter CEO Floyd Long. “I am so proud of the collaborative effort put forth in the development of the Carter mural project. The mural is colorfully vibrant and captures the spirit of East Harlem from its music and art to its historic landmarks. It truly represents the Latin- and African-American influences of our community and pays homage to Carter’s compassionate healthcare services.” 

  

“This mural is a tribute to the amazing vibrancy and rich history of Greater Harlem, a neighborhood that Henry J. Carter Specialty Hospital is proud to serve,” said muralist Ji Yong Kim. “It depicts diverse people and places that make this community so incredible, using uplifting colors and shapes to convey a sense of balance and harmony. Creating this mural was a remarkable collaboration from start to finish. I enjoyed every step of the design process, which involved multiple meetings with the hospital community to gather their input and feedback. As our ideas and focus became more refined with each community meeting, I felt that we began to share a common vision of what the mural could represent and how it could enhance the hospital environment. I am grateful for the incredible support from NYC Health + Hospitals and Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Funds, who made this mural possible. I thank everyone who contributed to this project, and I hope that this mural can bring joy and happiness to the hospital community.” 

Ji Yong Kim (@jiyongkim_art) 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. 

  

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 Community Mural Project creates opportunities for hospital staff to collaborate and 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. 

Image courtesy of Provided

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