5. San Juan Heal at Lincoln Center

San Juan Heal at the Lincoln Center. Photo by Nicholas Knight. Courtesy of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, The Studio Museum in Harlem, and Public Art Fund.

Enlivening the nearly 200-foot-long facade of the Lincoln Center’s David Geffen Hall is San Juan Heal, a collection of designs that pay homage to the San Juan Hill neighborhood. The working-class neighborhood was home to the largest Black and Puerto Rican populations in New York City during the first half of the twentieth century. San Juan Hill’s residents were forcibly displaced to make way for redevelopment in the area which would eventually become the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. 

The constellation of words, shapes, and symbols that make up artist Nina Chanel’s piece depicts the former thriving community. Featured in the panels are figures such as the pioneering healthcare workers Edith Carter and Elizabeth Tyler. Other prominent figures placed into the spotlight include musician James P. Johnson, famous for inspiring the Charleston dance craze, and Thelonious Monk, a pioneer of Bebop. Commissioned by the Lincoln Center in collaboration with The Studio Museum in Harlem and the Public Art Fund, San Juan Heal will be on display until March 31, 2024.