Community mural speaks to everyone at North Central

Community mural speaks to everyone at North Central
Artist Carla Torres explains the meaning behind just a small section of the community mural she designed at North Central Bronx Hospital. Torres brainstormed with staff, faculty and patients on the project to ensure the mural encapsulated everything NCBH represents.
Photo by Kyle Vuille/Schneps Media

Patients and faculty will see new splashes of color at North Central Bronx Hospital after Monday’s unveiling of a community mural entitled, ‘The Cycle of Caring’ developed by artist Carla Torres.

“I love doing this kind of work because I see the art in action, the power of art in action, where the artwork transcends the image,” Torres said in front of the multifaceted mural. “It’s not so much about the image, its what happened around it.”

Torres, a visual studio artist, originally from Ecuador was one of eight female artists chosen to participate in the NYC Health and Hospital Community Mural Projects.

The mural on the first floor of the NCBH portrays all the triumphs and trials that take place there everyday, according to Torres.

From brainstorming sessions with faculty, staff, patients, Torres found the common theme of resilience between staff members, working together for the greater good.

“When we opened up the conversation in the brainstorming, we asked what NCB means to you,” Torres said. “They were emphasizing for them, working at NCB is like family, people working here for many years, and the community.”

According to Torres, she estimated at least 40 different faculty members and patients worked on the project over the span of four hours.

Torres found the humor in participants worrying about not staying in the lines or making mistakes.

“We fix as we fix. I was the ‘plastic surgeon’ after the painting party,” Torres said.

The $1.5 million funding for various mural projects came from a grant put out by the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund through the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.

Rick Luftglass, executive director, at the Laurie M Tisch Illumination Fund was present at the unveiling and spoke briefly with the Bronx Times.

“We look at access and opportunity in the community in relation to the arts and meet the needs of the community, especially in underserving areas,” Luftglass said.

The program aims to integrate the arts (literary, visual, and performing) into the hospitals for the sake of the emotional well-being and wellness of everyone who walks through their doors.

A prime example of the therapeutic benefits of creating art was exemplified at the mural’s unveiling after a patient spoke about his involvement.

“I was a patient here and I learned about the mural happening upstairs and I was excited, it was a day I didn’t have much to do and I came upstairs and I was greeted really warmly by the staff and I was assigned a color,” 26-year-old Dio Then said. “I went ahead and started painting and I felt all my stress literally melt away and be put on a piece of paper.”

Torres said she was pleased with every step of the project and couldn’t be happier with the final product.

“I was able to convey all their ideas,” Torres said.

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