NYC Health + Hospitals’ Arts in Medicine program today announced that it has selected nine artists to lead the community-based mural projects at eight hospitals across New York City. The artists, chosen from more than 100 applications, will engage patients, staff, and local community residents to create an integrated internal or external mural at NYC Health + Hospitals facilities. Each collaboration will occur between August 1 and December 31, 2019. 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 hospitals through community-building activities. 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.
“Incorporating art in medicine encourages a whole person’s approach to healing. With vibrant expressions of color, imagination and culturally meaningful symbols, the community murals will produce, naturally, those surges of pleasure and distraction that reduce pain and frustration. In addition to bringing communities and community members together, these murals will help provide greater insight into the lives and concerns of community residents,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “We are proud to promote this work with talented artists across the city, and look forward to creating more thoughtful and emotionally nourishing spaces in our communities.”
“It is clear from decades of research that the arts promote healing in many important ways. The arts help celebrate shared history and culture, promote physical healing, reduce stress and support mental health,” said Eric Wei, MD, MBA, Vice President and Chief Quality Officer of NYC Health + Hospitals, and Chair of the Art Advisory Council. “With the Community Murals Project and the other programs in our Arts in Medicine initiative we’re able to expand our long tradition of arts in healthcare to more NYC Health + Hospitals’ patients, staff and neighborhoods.
“The Arts in Medicine Community Murals Project is much more than an art installation in our hospitals,” said Dave Chokshi, MD, MSc, FACP, Vice President and Chief Population Health Officer at NYC Health + Hospitals, and Co-Chair of the Art Advisory Council. “We’re engaging patients, staff and local residents to participate in the mural painting process, emphasizing NYC Health + Hospitals’ focus on community building and partnerships.”
“NYC Health + Hospitals is in the vanguard of hospitals in America utilizing art as a tool in healing,” said Laurie Tisch, Founder and President of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund. “We are proud to partner with NYC Health + Hospitals and the Mayor’s Fund to bring eight more murals to communities throughout New York this year. The murals and the collaborative process to create them not only increase community engagement and improve patients’ experiences, they are instrumental in creating a more positive work environment for the frontline staff and health care workers who face enormous pressure every day. These murals will be a lasting testament to the power of art to bring communities together, reduce stigma and improve lives.”
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 four proposed central themes, which included Honoring the Past, Transforming the Future; Joyful: Aesthetic of Joy; Healing Community; and Together as One
An interview with members of the selection committee
The new Community Murals Project builds upon a mural tradition that started in the 1930s when the depression-era Works Progress Administration supported the creation of hundreds of murals across New York City’s public hospitals, and that continued decades later with murals by world-famous artists such as Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf. The Community Murals Project will connect artists, local community members and hospital staff to re-imagine hospitals and promote greater neighborhood wellness.
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. The grant also allows NYC Health + Hospitals to launch new programs that use the arts as a resource to promote employee wellness and resilience and to combat compassion fatigue.
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.
Continuing the tradition established in the 1930s the Work Progress Administration supported hundreds of murals across New York City’s public hospitals, community murals leverage artists and local community members to re-imagine hospitals and promote greater neighborhood wellness. Mural artists will engage with patients, staff, and local residents to create an integrated internal or external mural at selected NYC Health + Hospitals facilities, developing cultural ties between artists, patients, staff, and local residents.
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 and stay connected on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NYCHealthSystem or Twitter at @NYCHealthSystem.
About the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund
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 https://thelmtif.org/ or follow @LMTischFund on Twitter.