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NYC Health + Hospitals Unveils New Community Mural at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln

The Community Mural Project is believed to be the country's largest public hospital mural program since the 1930s

The nine new murals build on the 26 murals created in the first wave of the project

Mar 22, 2024

Artist Dister Rondon in front of his new mural, Legacy, at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln

NYC Health + Hospitals today unveiled a new mural as part of the Community Mural Project run by the health system’s Arts in Medicine department. The mural, Legacy at NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln, was developed by artist Dister Rondon 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. Legacy is one of nine new murals that have been created in the past 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 2019-2021. A video of the artist and members of the community speaking about the mural is available here. This program is made possible through the generous support of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund.

Legacy depicts the Young Lords’ takeover of Lincoln Hospital in 1970 as a pivotal moment in the fight for improved healthcare and patient advocacy. Through their activism–alongside residents of the neighborhood–they not only challenged the deplorable health conditions for patients and staff, but also confronted racial and class inequalities embedded within the healthcare system. Holding a megaphone is Felipe Luciano, a key figure in the Young Lords movement, along with protesters Iris Morales and Denise Oliver-Velez, raising their fists and embodying the spirit of activism and resilience as they unite in the fight for social justice and equality. On the right side of the mural, a tender depiction of a woman cradling her baby adds depth to the narrative. Her arm bears a tattoo of roses, representing beauty and strength amidst adversity. These elements contrast with the vibrant roses in red, pink, and violet hues located in the bottom left corner, highlighting the interconnectedness of struggle and hope within the community.

“NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln is a vital health anchor in the Bronx,” said Rick Luftglass, Executive Director of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund. “It is well understood from decades of research that the arts are an effective tool in healing. The Community Mural Project is a perfect example of how the NYC Health + Hospitals Arts in Medicine Program utilizes the arts to improve health and address staff burnout and compassion fatigue, as well as bring joy and solace to all who enter the hospital. We are proud to help make it possible.”

“Murals are a window into our past, present and future. They reflect community, shared experience and in many instances our history,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Assistant Vice President of Arts in Medicine Larissa Trinder. “Legacy, by Dister Rondon, draws upon an important moment and serves as an example of how art can highlight critical themes that have been catalysts for change. The Young Lords played a pivotal role in Lincoln Hospital’s heritage and Arts in Medicine is proud to present it to the Bronx community today.”

“So being at the focus groups is one thing where many ideas come out, but now it comes to fruition, and we get to paint it, you see the fruits of your labor,” said Chris Roker, CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln. “It’s a beautiful thing. It’s almost like us taking care of our patients. They’re coming in sick and we’re able to help them. Same thing with surgery, primary care and our specialties. I love it. We’re doing art, and Arts in Medicine brings everybody together, our community, my staff. It helps to release stress. And then they get to see the CEO painting with an Environmental Services worker. It just brings everybody together.”

“This mural stands as a tribute and ode to The Young Lords and their movement — a testament to the collective strength of people united against the illusion of a sustainable capitalist system,” said artist Dister Rondon. “While our journey continues, The Young Lords reshaped healthcare, not because of America, but despite it.”

Dister Rondon (@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. 

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 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.




About NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln
NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln, located in the South Bronx, is a 362-bed, Acute Care Level 1 Trauma Center and sees more than 168,000 emergency room visits and more than 600,000 outpatient visits annually. Clinical centers of excellence include: Emergency Medicine and Trauma Care; Breast Imaging; Designated Stroke Center, Diabetes Center and HIV/AIDS Center. Lincoln Hospital was the first Baby-Friendly designated hospital in the Bronx, providing clinical services and consultations for over 1,500 deliveries per year. The hospital emphasizes primary care and specialty medicine, using the latest advances in medical science. Lincoln is part of NYC Health + Hospitals, the largest public health care system in the nation. For more information visit www.nychealthandhospitals.org/lincoln and stay connected on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/LincolnHosp

About NYC Health + Hospitals’ Arts in Medicine Department
The Arts in Medicine department at NYC Health + Hospitals seeks to foster the emotional well-being and promote healing and wellness for all patients and their families, employees, and the greater community by utilizing the arts, including literary, visual, and performing arts throughout the health care system. In addition to managing the system’s significant visual arts collection, the Arts in Medicine department encourages evidenced based practices and provides technical assistance to all of the system’s health care facilities and clinics. This is accomplished by combining artistic innovation and education into a comprehensive health care continuum that supports the healing benefits of the arts. For more information, visit https://www.nychealthandhospitals.org/artsinmedicine/.

About NYC Health + Hospitals
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 43,000 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 FacebookTwitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

About the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund
The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund is a New York City-based foundation that aims to improve access and opportunity for all New Yorkers and foster healthy and vibrant communities. In 2018, the Illumination Fund launched Arts in Health, a multi-year initiative to support organizations utilizing the arts as a tool for healing and building understanding in communities across New York City. The initiative’s areas of focus are stigma, trauma and aging-related diseases as well as supporting organizations addressing mental health in communities disproportionately affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. In 2019 the Illumination Fund supported the creation of NYC Health + Hospitals Arts in Medicine department, expanding programs serving health care staff, patients, and communities in sites across the City. For more information, visit www.lmtif.org or follow @LMTischFund on Twitter.