NYC Health + Hospitals curates the largest public art collection in New York City. We are committed to preserving more than 3,000 works of art and making them accessible to the public.
Art exhibits and installations in the main lobbies, waiting rooms, corridors, patient rooms, and other public spaces throughout NYC Health + Hospitals’ facilities have been made possible through a combination of donations, commissions, and support from New York City.
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. Over the years, New York City’s public health care system commissioned 600 murals to adorn its facilities. Today, the health system recognizes the historic and cultural significance of these murals and works to preserve them.
In the 1970s, a panel of museum professionals helped the organization select and acquire more than 3,000 pieces of art. This art advisory board included directors from the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Guggenheim Museum, El Museo del Barrio, and the Studio Music of Harlem. Under its guidance, the public health system acquired works by prominent artists including photographs by Ansel Adams, prints by Andy Warhol, a mosaic by Helen Frankenthaler, and a wall collage by Romare Bearden.
In the 1980s, a new city law mandated one percent of city-funded construction budgets to be dedicated to the purchase of artwork for public buildings. NYC Health + Hospitals worked with the Mayor’s Office and the City’s Art Commission to select artwork to help create a therapeutic and welcoming environment for patients and staff.
In 2001, NYC Health + Hospitals was the first public agency to develop a digital database of its art collection. Today, the health system continues to preserve artwork and share its collection with the public through exhibitions in its facilities and partnerships with museums and galleries.