Art & Medicine Murals, BLACK ANGELS NURSES AT SEA VIEW HOSPITAL, and Children’s Playroom Mural In New York City Hospitals
THE KEITH HARING MURAL INSIDE BROOKLYN’S WOODHULL HOSPITAL
Hospitals may not be the first places that come to mind when you think of where to see works of famous contemporary artists, but inside NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull, there are not one but two Keith Haring murals. The murals are part of the largest public art collection in New York City, a collection of over 3,000 works curated by NYC Health + Hospitals. As an advocate who believed art should be accessible to everyone, Haring gifted the murals in 1986. In Untapped New York’s upcoming talk with Linh Dang, Senior Director of NYC Health + Hospitals Arts in Medicine Program, she will discuss how Haring’s contribution to the New York City healthcare system is part of a tradition that dates back to the 1930s and is being carried on today by The Community Mural Project.
In a proposal for the Woodhull mural, Haring explains his inspiration for the piece. When visiting the hospital, he noticed a border running around the lobby, “an intricate part of the architecture” that he wanted to “embellish…with a frieze of characters.” The characters are “very simple human and animal figures, dancing, playing, break dancing, etc.,” outlined in thick black paint with bright splashes of primary colors. Since the 700-foot long mural is the first thing that patients see upon entering the hospital, Haring wanted the design to be “positive, uplifting, unaggressive, imaginative and comforting.”
Haring’s parade of playful figures continues down two corridors that branch off of the main lobby. The hallway mural figures are just black and white but have more details than the lobby mural. While the lobby figures are abstract shapes, the hallway figures have details like faces and clothing. To complete the murals, Haring spent an entire week inside the Bed-Stuy hospital. During his downtime, he socialized with hospital staff, patients, visitors, and fans. He happily signed autographs and did small drawings for anyone who asked.
According to the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Haring created more than fifty murals for hospitals, daycare centers, charity venues, and orphanages during the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s. The Keith Haring mural inside NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull is estimated to be worth millions of dollars today. In 2018, a $20,000 restoration project was carried out by art conservators Helen Im and Suyeon Kim. The restoration included making repairs to water damaged areas of the painting and touching up the paint on the Keith Haring mural.
Murals first appeared in New York City hospitals in the 1930s when the depression-era Works Progress Administration commissioned hundreds of them for New York City’s public hospital system. As the century progressed, hospitals and organizations continued to commission murals, sometimes from famous artists such as Kenny Scharf. Today, the mural tradition continues with The Community Mural Project run by NYC Health + Hospitals Arts in Medicine program and funded by the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund.
The Community Mural Project facilitates the creation of collaborative works of art that bring together healthcare staff, patients, artists, and local residents. Each group plays an important role in every step of the creation process, from designing the mural to actually painting it! Started in 2019, the project has already added sixteen new murals to hospitals all over New York City, with plans to add more. The goal of the program is to “re-imagine hospitals and promote greater neighborhood wellness.” The Community Mutal Project was more vital than ever in 2020, when the murals helped to combat caregiver fatigue and bolstered the spirits of frontline workers during the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem, you can see more of KetihHaring’s work. RxArt, in partnership with the Keith Haring Foundation, produced a wall decal for the hospital’s waiting room in 2019 with a design created by Haring. In 2020, artist Imani Shanklin Roberts contributed a new mural to NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull’s exterior, joining the Keith Haring mural created over thirty years ago. On the Illumination Fund website, you can see all of the locations where community murals have been added over the past two years. The call for artists to create murals in 2021, along with a list of new mural locations, have just been released! You can learn more and fill out an application here!
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NYC Health + Hospitals Woodhull Hospital has brought colorful inspiration to its Flushing Avenue side. On October 8, a mural titled, Through Healing We Unite, which the artist hopes will communicate the balance of both care workers and patients to cultivate healing, was unveiled. Oct 15, 2020
Arts in Medicine – Community Mural Project
Dec 11, 2019
BLACK ANGELS NURSES AT SEA VIEW HOSPITAL
HONORED IN NEW MURAL
Produced by VICTORIA CHOE
Just in time for Black History Month, a new mural has just been unveiled at Staten Island’s Sea View Hospital. “The Spirit of Sea View” by Yana Dimitrova, depicts the hospital’s deep history dedicated to serving the most vulnerable populations of New York, including the role of the Black Angels. The project was completed under New York City Health + Hospitals Community Murals Project in partnership with the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund and is located in the E. Robitzek Building at Sea View. It consists of four panels, each highlighting significant individuals and events of Sea View’s past. In the mural, you’ll see a reference to the Delft terra cotta panels that were salvaged from the abandoned tuberculosis buildings in the hospital.
The first panel highlights Sea View’s beginnings as a part of the New York City Farm Colony. Founded in 1829 as the Richmond County Poor Farm, it welcomed the poor, mentally ill, criminals, and other outcasts of the time. In exchange for a place to stay, people were given work on the farm and in various shops that specialized in skills such as carpentry, print, and tailoring. Seaview Hospital was built as a tuberculosis sanatorium right by the Staten Island farm colony, and the two later merged in 1915, forming Seaview Farms. Combining the farm colony and the hospital enabled both institutions to maximize each others’ resources and services.
Panel two focuses on the Black Angels of Seaview Hospital who were critical in providing care for patients during the tuberculosis pandemic (the cure for tuberculosis was discovered at Sea View). Called Black Angels by their parents, around 300 of African American nurses came to Seaview from across the country between 1928 to 1960 to help patients fight tuberculosis. Although many white nurses left Seaview during the height of the pandemic, Black nurses fearlessly and heroically served patients at the risk of their own lives. Their story will also be the subject of a forthcoming book from Oprah Books by Mara Smilios, The Black Angels: The Untold Story of the Nurses Who Helped Cure Tuberculosis.
Dimitrova worked on the murals in collaboration with members of Seaview hospital, in particular, Miss Virginia Allen, the last living Black Angel today. At sixteen years old, she came to Sea View from Detroit as a nurse and helped on the frontlines of treating tuberculosis patients. Dimitrova wrote about the experience on her website, “After speaking with Miss Allen and meeting her in person, it was so beautifully clear – she is an inspiring fighter for social justice for the not only the community at the hospital but also all over New York City. I am honored to have had the privilege to meet her and speak with her in preparation of this panel.” Allen attended the mural unveiling last week.
Panel three continues the narrative of Seaview’s integral role in the tuberculosis pandemic. In it, Dr. Edward H. Robitzek, who discovered a cure for tuberculosis, has provided the mediation to a patient who is celebrating her recovery. Before, the only recommendations doctors could recommend for tuberculosis patients were ample sunlight, fresh air, and a good diet. However, Dr. Robitzek’s discovery of the effectiveness of the drug isoniazid led to drastic recoveries in patients who were likely to die from the disease. Alongside the Black Angels, Dr. Robitzek is portrayed as another commendable hero of Seaview’s history.
The final panel reflects the present. Although for many years Sea View’s buildings were abandoned and forgotten, they have been revived and transformed into a rehabilitation center, nursing home, and a volunteer fire company as a part of The New York City Economic Development Corp’s efforts to create a Wellness Community. In the mural, the patient is the portrait of Miss Marquita, an actual patient of Sea View, in the greenhouse of the hospital.
The four panels reflect the rich history of a hospital that has created opportunities for the poor, served tuberculosis patients with the help of Black Angels, and helped instigate a cure for tuberculosis patients.
Next, check out the top ten secrets of Sea View hospital and groundbreaking medical discoveries made in New York City. by Taboola
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Montefiore Medical Center – Children’s Playroom Mural
Hospital Mural. We worked with the amazing staff at the Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. Together we created a custom mural in a newly designed playroom. We had a good time painting universal childhood favorites for the kids to enjoy. Hopefully having these friends around makes a trip to the doctor a little bit more fun. Check out some photos of the vibrant & crisp hospital mural installation below:
Donald may also need Mickey’s services after the kite ride from the looks of it. The panorama captures the size and also color of the install. In this case, painting to the edges of the frame really worked well.
The roll down black out window screens were a fun canvas for Minnie and Lady Duck. The orange cloud background behind each contrasts the bright green hills of the hospital mural. We were able to use some negative space here also.
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It’s true—recent studies and research have proven that a trip to the art gallery or a museum can positively impact your health and well-being in several essential ways, like lowering anxiety and depression and boosting critical thinking skills. Apr 15, 2019
Arts in Medicine: Three American Masterpieces as Tools for Healing
- “The Sum Of The Squares Of The Houses” (1973) by Alfred Jensen. Alfred Jensen, Guatemalan/American, 1903-1981. …
- “Man Emerging” (1969) by Charles Alston. Charles Henry Alston, American, 1907–1977. …
- “Untitled” (1974) by Romare Bearden.
- Arts in Medicine: Three American Masterpieces as Tools for …
Jun 10, 2021 — A community-based mural by Renzo Ortega, the first in Belvis’s 25-year history, was unveiled to the public at NYC Health + Hospitals/Belvis …
Art and medicine intersect in New York City hospitals
Aug 17, 2022 PBS NewsHour
It’s one of the largest public art collections in the country and it’s not where you might expect to see it. Artwork in New York hospitals aims to heal patients and healers. Jeffrey Brown continues his occasional look at the intersection of art and health, for our ongoing arts and culture series, “CANVAS.” Stream your PBS favorites with the PBS app: https://to.pbs.org/2Jb8twG Find more from PBS NewsHour at https://www.pbs.org/newshour Subscribe to our YouTube channel: https://bit.ly/2HfsCD6 Follow us: TikTok: https://www.tiktok.com/@pbsnews Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/newshour Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/newshour Facebook: http://www.pbs.org/newshour Subscribe: PBS NewsHour podcasts: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/podcasts Newsletters: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/subscribe