NYC Health + Hospitals Unveils New Community Mural at NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens
The Community Mural Project is believed to be the country’s largest public hospital mural program since the 1930s
The nine new murals will build on the 26 murals created in the first wave of the project
Nov 15, 2023
NYC Health + Hospitals today unveiled a new mural as part of the Community Mural Project, run by the health system’s Arts in Medicine department. Today’s mural, Roots of Medicine at NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens, was developed by artist Zeehan Wazed through a series of focus groups with community members, staff and patients and brought to life at a paint party where the community was invited to paint the mural together. Roots of Medicine is one of nine new murals that have been created this year, building on the 26 murals created in the first wave of the Community Mural Project. The first 26 murals are featured in a new book, Healing Walls: New York City Health + Hospitals Community Mural Project 2019-2021. A video of the artist speaking about the mural is available here. This program is made possible through the generous support of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund.
Roots of Medicine portrays eight flowers used in homeopathic medicine: calendula, lavender, chamomile, echinacea, flax seeds, rose petals, St. John’s Wort, and nasturtium. Lavender can promote calm and relaxation; chamomile can provide digestive relief; calendula can be used for anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties; echinacea can boost the immune system; flax seeds can support heart health and improve digestion; rose petals can be soothing and offer mild astringent qualities; St. John’s Wort can be used to alleviate mild to moderate depression and anxiety; and nasturtiums are rich in vitamin C and can be used to fortify the immune system. These flowers welcome patients and visitors while imparting knowledge about the profound legacy of homeopathic remedies and the foundational roots of medicine.
Roots of Medicine, the new mural at NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens by artist Zeehan Wazed, wraps around the main atrium along the second floor.
“NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens is a vital and vibrant health anchor for the entire community,” said Rick Luftglass, executive director of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund. “Zeehan Wazed’s mural, Roots of Medicine, is a beautiful addition to the hospital and is a powerful example of how NYC Health + Hospitals’ Arts in Medicine program uses the arts to benefit staff, patients and the surrounding community. We’re proud to have helped make it possible.”
“Zeehan’s mural is a large-scale immersive experience that brings the natural world inside the busy lobby of Queens Hospital,” said NYC Health + Hospitals Assistant Vice President of Arts in Medicine Larissa Trinder. “This evidence-based installation considered the flora and fauna that contribute to medicinal healing and combined them with soft colors that soothe. We consider murals a healthcare service for their positive impact on public health and are proud to present this mural to the Queens community today.”
“The community mural project is an endeavor that is positive and enlightening for our staff and patient family, and is designed to promote a sense of healing and calm upon entering our facility,” said NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens Chief Executive Officer Neil J. Moore, MBA, MPA, FACHE. “We are excited and gratified that local artist Zeehan Wazed has contributed his multifaceted talent to this project, and thrilled to learn that he has spent many years of his life growing up in this very community. I am confident that the end result – this colorful and lively completed mural – will inspire joy, optimism, and a deeply felt appreciation for everyone who takes in its beauty.”
“I was really passionate about painting a mural for Queens Hospital because I grew up a few blocks away,” said muralist Zeehan Wazed. “When I broke my fingers, my dad brought me to the Queens Hospital ER – the same fingers I used to paint this mural today. I wanted to have a diversity of flowers representing the diversity we have at Queens Hospital, and the vines represent how we all intertwine and connect with each other. Thank you to NYC Health + Hospitals for this amazing opportunity.”
Zeehan Wazed (@zeehanwazed) is a New York City-based artist who creates painting, sculpture, choreography, and creative new media. He is Bangladeshi American and grew up in Jamaica, Queens. His art is inspired by graffiti and dance.
The Community Mural Project is believed to be the country’s largest public hospital mural program since the 1930s, when the depression-era Works Progress Administration (WPA) commissioned murals in public buildings, including virtually every hospital in New York City’s public healthcare system. The WPA murals were the start of NYC Health + Hospitals art collection, which now is the city’s largest public art collection and includes more than 7,000 pieces of art of multiple disciplines. The art collection is used to enhance the healthcare environment, inspire creativity, promote wellness, increase access to the arts, and engage staff.
The Community Mural Project creates opportunities for hospital staff to collaborate with each other and with neighbors, relieve stress, and enhance the physical environment of the facilities. Healthcare worker burnout is a national health crisis, and the continuing COVID-19 pandemic has created mental health challenges across New York City, especially in low-income, immigrant and historically excluded communities, which are significant patient populations for NYC Health + Hospitals.
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About NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens
A member of NYC Health + Hospitals, NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens is a major health care provider in the borough of Queens. Its foremost mission is to provide quality, comprehensive care to all members of the public regardless of their ability to pay. The year 2015 marked its 80th anniversary of serving the communities of central and southeastern Queens, having first opened its doors as Queens General Hospital in 1935. Encompassing 360,000 square feet, it comprises 253 licensed beds, spacious ambulatory care suites featuring both primary and specialty services, and cutting-edge equipment. It also houses four Centers of Excellence: Cancer Care, Diabetes Management, Women’s Health, and Behavioral Health. The hospital has recently added a fully expanded Emergency Room, a Breast Imaging Center of Excellence accredited by the American College of Radiology, and a Total Hip and Knee Replacement Center, with plans underway to build the Health System’s first Dialysis Center to train patients to perform their own at-home dialysis. To learn more about NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens, visit https://www.nychealthandhospitals.org/queens/.
About NYC Health + Hospitals’ Arts in Medicine Department
The Arts in Medicine department at NYC Health + Hospitals seeks to foster the emotional well-being and promote healing and wellness for all patients and their families, employees, and the greater community by utilizing the arts, including literary, visual, and performing arts throughout the health care system. In addition to managing the system’s significant visual arts collection, the Arts in Medicine department encourages evidenced based practices and provides technical assistance to all of the system’s health care facilities and clinics. This is accomplished by combining artistic innovation and education into a comprehensive health care continuum that supports the healing benefits of the arts. For more information, visit https://www.nychealthandhospitals.org/artsinmedicine/.
About NYC Health + Hospitals
NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest public health care system in the nation serving more than a million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient care locations across the city’s five boroughs. A robust network of outpatient, neighborhood-based primary and specialty care centers anchors care coordination with the system’s trauma centers, nursing homes, post-acute care centers, home care agency, and MetroPlus health plan—all supported by 11 essential hospitals. Its diverse workforce of more than 43,000 employees is uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest life possible. For more information, visit www.nychealthandhospitals.org and stay connected on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.
About the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund
The Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund is a New York City-based foundation that strives to improve access and opportunity for all New Yorkers and foster healthy and vibrant communities. Founded in 2007 by philanthropist Laurie M. Tisch, the Illumination Fund plays an active role in supporting innovative approaches across a range of issues—increasing access to healthy food, building healthy communities, supporting economic opportunity and ensuring that arts and arts education are accessible to all. In 2018, the Illumination Fund launched Arts in Health, a $10-million-dollar, multi-year initiative to support organizations working on health issues that impact New York communities and that emphasize the arts as a tool for healing and building understanding. The areas of focus include addressing mental health stigma, trauma, and aging-related diseases. For more information, visit www.lmtif.org or follow @LMTischFund on Twitter.