NYC Health + Hospitals Unveils the First of Nine New Community Murals, Starting with NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County
The Community Mural Project is believed to be the country’s largest public hospital mural program since the 1930s The nine new murals will build on the 26 murals created in the first wave of the project
The Community Mural Project is believed to be the country’s largest public hospital mural program since the 1930s
The nine new murals will build on the 26 murals created in the first wave of the project
Oct 05, 2023
NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Dr. Mitchell Katz, NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County CEO Sheldon McLeod, Founder and President of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund Laurie Tisch, Community Mural Artist Jodi Dareal, and members of the Kings County community celebrate the new mural, “We Are Kings.” (Credit: NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County)
New York, NY
NYC Health + Hospitals today unveiled the first of nine new murals as part of the Community Mural Project, run by the health system’s Arts in Medicine department. Today’s mural, “We Are Kings” at NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County, was developed by artist Jodi Dareal 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. The nine new murals will build on the 26 murals created in the first wave of the Community Mural Project and 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.
The mural “We Are Kings” was inspired by the commitment to care for the Kings County community. At the center of the mural stands the behavioral health building as a beacon of hope. At the foot of the stairs are healthcare workers welcoming all who enter. The workers represent just a few of the many roles at Kings County, highlighting the equal value of each and every role in the hospital and signaling that the entire community is there to support the healing process. Surrounding the building are individual and collective acts of care, including helping someone to stand on their own, tending to a healing garden, or a simple hand on a shoulder. At the bottom is a string of beads highlighting the colors of Caribbean cultures, reflecting the rich diaspora of the Caribbean that makes up the surrounding neighborhood of Flatbush.
“When we launched our Arts in Health initiative in 2018, one of our first partnerships was with the NYC Health + Hospitals system, whose mission, to serve everyone, no matter their circumstances, is so closely aligned with our own,” said Laurie Tisch, founder and president of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund. “The Community Mural Project is one of the cornerstone arts programs at NYC Health + Hospitals. Not only does it provide beautiful artworks to each of the hospitals, the collaborative process of planning and creating the murals helps to stimulate creativity, reduce stigma, relieve stress and strengthen the bonds between healthcare workers, patients and the community. We are enormously proud to support this project and happy to see this extraordinary new mural at Kings.”
“Connecting meaningfully with our communities is a critical part of the work of Arts in Medicine,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Assistant Vice President of Arts in Medicine Larissa Trinder. “Research reinforces the positive impact large scale collaborative projects, like the Community Mural program, have on our public health. Jodi’s combined perspective presents a powerful vision of who and what the Kings family represent.”
“Our new mural, ‘We Are Kings,’ symbolizes the power of unity and reflects the diverse voices of our community,” said NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County Chief Executive Officer Sheldon McLeod. “It’s a testament to the transformative impact of art in healing and connecting us all. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund for their generous support in making this project possible.”
“In this project, we united as a diverse community, collaborating with various stakeholders to celebrate the vibrant culture of Kings County,” said NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County Director of Mental Health of the Therapeutic Rehabilitation Department Chantal Georges. “Together, we brainstormed, shared stories, and understood our shared mission to create the ‘We Are Kings’ community mural.”
“It was an honor to paint this mural at my birthplace. Working with the patients and staff at Kings County Hospital has been an amazing experience,” said Community Mural Artist Jodi Dareal. “They welcomed me with open arms. We met three times to discuss the mural design. We wanted the mural to reflect the culture of the staff and the patients. We also wanted the mural to be about unity to show the bond between patients and staff. Together we created something really beautiful for the hospital.”
“Through this process of creating the mural ‘We are Kings’ between the collaboration of patients, medical professionals, creative directors, and artists, we came up with something that incorporated the rich flavor of the community,” said NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County Patient and Patient & Family Advisory Council (PFAC) Member Nefertiti McAulay. “Being creative has been a positive outlet in my mental health and to have the opportunity to work in part with the creative directors, hospital staff, and the incredible artist Ms. Jodi Dareal to create a unique perspective of our community and the representation in the hospital was an amazing opportunity.”
Jodi Dareal (@jodidareal) 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.
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.
MEDIA CONTACT: 212-788-3339; PressOffice@nychhc.org
About NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County
NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County is a 639-bed acute care teaching hospital located in Central Brooklyn. Among our highly specialized programs are a Level I Trauma Center, Pediatric Emergency Room, Level 3 Perinatal Center, Heart Health Center, Stroke Center, Sickle Cell Program, Behavioral Health Center, and Diabetes Education Center of Excellence. Many of our programs have received national recognition, including our cardiac, stroke and diabetes services. The hospital offers a broad array of primary and specialty care, including practices in neuroscience, orthopedics, urology and cardiology. Annually, our ambulatory care practices see well over 500,000 visits, and more than 150,000 visits in the Behavioral Health outpatient program, in addition to close to 23,000 inpatient discharges. NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County has played a major role in providing health care to vulnerable populations in Brooklyn since 1831, and is part of NYC Health + Hospitals, the largest public health care system in the nation. For more information visit, nychealthandhospitals.org/kingscounty and stay connected on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/KingsCountyHosp or Twitter at @KingsCountyHosp
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 Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
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 www.lmtif.org or follow @LMTischFund on Twitter.