A citywide project that is a flagship component of NYC Health + Hospitals’ arts-based initiatives, made possible through the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, unveiled its first community mural last week.
On Thursday, Sept. 3, Jacobi Hospital held a ribbon cutting for its mural, “Care,” making this the largest public hospital mural project since the WPA program of public art in the 1930s. It was designed by New York-based artists Andrei Kratsou and Yulia Puhach.
NYC Health + Hospitals’ Arts in Medicine program announced last month the second group of artists that will lead community-based mural projects at 10 facilities. There will be a total of 17 murals added to the hospital system, with one each at Jacobi and Lincoln Hospitals.
“Our aim was to create an environment in which every individual can feel welcome and valued,” Puhach said. “We believe our mural will inspire people who work here and visit the hospital. I can say 100 percent we enjoyed it and we feel fulfilled.”
The duo have been artists since 2008 and travel the world painting in different countries and cities. Puhach told the Bronx Times designing the mural was a “unique experience,” since Jacobi staff, patients and community members were involved with the concept. Focus groups were held to determine themes within the mural, which reflect the multi-cultural aspects of the community.
One person who understands the power of healing and art is Mariela Reyes, a psychologist at Jacobi. Over the past six months, she and her colleagues have witnessed so much sadness and death and the hope is this will bring some joy.
“This mural represents our commitment to saving lives and caring for others,” Reyes said.