Murals brighten patients’ lives at Allerton healthcare facility

At the murals’ dedication on Thursday, April 24 are (l-r) Marilyn Oliver, Artist Heather Buggée, Artist Sandy Romano, CenterLight Director of Therapeutic Recreation Vincent Bonadies, and Janice Fullard.
Photo by Aracelis Batista

CenterLight Health Systems has unveiled four new murals at its Allerton in-patient care facility that highlight the best of the Bronx.

Created by Splashes of Hope, an organization that brings colorful murals to medical facilities, the four paintings were officially dedicated at CenterLight’s Allerton Avenue rehabilitation center on Thursday, April 24.

The four murals depict the New York Botanical Gardens, Yankee Stadium in 1923 and today, the Bronx Zoo, and City Island in four different seasons,

“We were very careful to pick four places in the Bronx that we feel would be meaningful for the residents here because we want to dedicate these murals to them,” said CenterLight Administrator Linda Murray.

The paintings should bring back memories for the residents, she said. Some of the places in the paintings are ones that residents may currently visit, said Director of Therapeutic Recreation Vincent Bonadies.

Some are places that they visited throughout their lives, or that they may never be able to visit again, added Murray.

Splashes of Hope, a Huntington, L.I.-based non-profit that seeks to brighten up medical facilities, was founded in 1996 by artist Health Buggée “as a reaction to her own life experiences in standard medical settings,” according to the organization’s website.

The murals were hand-painted on four-by-six feet Masonite panels custom designed to fit the needs and memories of residents.

They can be moved to alternate locations if necessary, and currently occupy a connecting hallway between buildings that visitors to the facility, and residents, often use.

“It is going to be a great conversational piece for people who walk through,” said Bonadies.

Murray added: “I think it will elicit a lot of conversation; before this was just a hallway that people would walk hurriedly through.”

The four paintings not only show the well-known borough locations but contain people of all ethnic backgrounds, adults in wheelchairs being assisted by caretakers, the health system’s bus and even a few small children.

The murals had been planned for several months in partnership with Splashes of Hope, she said.

Resident Concetta Previte, who was viewing the murals the day they were dedicated, and visited the locations shown as both as a child and adult, said that the artists “really captured the feeling of the places.”

For more information about CenterLight, visit www.centerlight.org. To learn more about Splashes of Hope, see www.splashesofhope.org.

Reach Reporter Patrick Rocchio at (718) 742–3393. E-mail him at procchio@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @patrickfrocchio.
Residents and staff look at the murals for the first time.

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