Virtual Talk: Art in NYC Hospitals with The Community Murals Project

Keith Haring mural at Woodhull Hospital

Discover the uplifting and creative history of The Community Murals Project, an initiative that uses art to help relieve the stress of healthcare workers, build morale, and encourage engagement with patients and the community at large. Funded by the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund and executed by NYC Health and Hospital's Arts in Medicine program, The Community Murals Project is rooted in a mural tradition that stretches back to the 1930s, when the depression-era Works Progress Administration supported the creation of hundreds of murals across New York City’s public hospitals.

That tradition continued throughout the 20th-century with big-name artists like Keith Haring and Kenny Scharf adding their mark to the city's public health system. In 2019, The Community Mural Project reinvigorated the tradition by adding seven new murals to public hospitals across New York City. In 2020, the Mural Project was more important than ever in helping to combat hospital staff burnout and “caregiver fatigue.” Over the past three months, ten new murals were unveiled.

In this discussion and presentation led by Linh Dang, Senior Director of H+H’s Arts in Medicine, and Rick Luftglass, Executive Director of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, Insiders will trace the evolution of The Community Murals Project from its depression-era predecessor to its plans for 2021. Insiders will also get a behind-the-scenes look at how healthcare staff, community members, and artists work together to create beautiful works of art in a new video yet to be released. In a visual presentation, Insiders will take a deep dive into the history of various Community Mural Project sites including, NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens, where a new 2020 mural joins a WPA mural from 1938, NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull, where you can find both Keith Haring's lobby mural and a new work by Imani Shanklin Roberts, and more!

The Community Murals Project will be putting out an open call to artists in January and a call for community members who want to be involved in the process of selecting and eventually painting the murals. You will learn all about the projects plans for 2021, and how you can get involved. There will be a Q&A session with Rick and Linh to finish.


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All photographs Courtesy of New York City Health + Hospitals, Final Photograph by Linda Morales. Artworks pictured:

  • Untitled, 1986, Keith Haring, NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull (Bedford Stuyvesant)
  • Her Legacy Lights the Way, 2019, Peach Tao, NYC Health + Hospitals/McKinney (East Flatbush)
  • Artist Dannielle Tegeder, 2020, NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens (Jamaica)
  • The Residents of Gouverneur, 2020, Ellie Balk, NYC Health + Hospitals/Gouverneur (Lower Manhattan)
  • Formation of Abundance, 2020, Arantxa X Rodriguez, NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln (Mott Haven, The Bronx)