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NYC Health + Hospitals unveils inspiring Mural celebrating community resilience

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In a vibrant display of community spirit, NYC Health + Hospitals revealed its latest mural, Healing in Community at NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler, as part of the renowned Community Mural Project led by the health system’s Arts in Medicine department.

Developed by artist Rachel Fawn Alban, the mural stands as a tribute to the diverse and resilient individuals within the Coler community.

Alban engaged community members, staff, and patients in a series of photography workshops, resulting in a striking photomural featuring portraits of 34 Coler community members.

The mural is not only an aesthetic addition but a symbol of joy and solace. Rick Luftglass, executive director of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, expressed pride in supporting the creation of this artistic masterpiece, emphasizing its potential to bring joy to both residents and visitors.

Larissa Trinder, NYC Health + Hospitals Assistant Vice President of Arts in Medicine, highlighted the critical role artists play in public health.

Alban’s collaborative approach and use of photography as a medium to narrate life’s journey left a lasting impact on staff and residents alike.

Stephen Catullo, CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals/Coler, described the mural as a representation of strength, kindness, resilience, and hope embodied by the diverse professional staff and residents.

The portraits, including that of the in-resident therapy dog, Momo, capture the essence of Coler’s spirit.

Artist Rachel Fawn Alban expressed her honor in working on the mural, emphasizing the importance of hands-on creative experiences during the photography workshops.

She hoped that Healing in Community inspires warm feelings, pride, and connection for those living and working at Coler.

Alban, based in Newark, NJ, is recognized for her collaborative and healing-focused portrait-making approach, informed by her background in Art Therapy. The mural is part of the Community Mural Project, considered the country’s largest public hospital mural program since the 1930s.

The project not only contributes to the aesthetics of the healthcare environment but also fosters collaboration among hospital staff, neighbors, and the broader community.

At a time when healthcare worker burnout is a national crisis, and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic poses mental health challenges, the Community Mural Project serves as a beacon of resilience and community engagement, especially in low-income, immigrant, and historically excluded communities served by NYC Health + Hospitals.

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