When you first see the outside of New York’s Harlem Hospital Center, the most striking impression you get is of the massive glass-curtain mural spread across the front wall of the building. It is not a stretch to claim that it is the most memorable of hospital art. Since the mid-1930s, the Center has been known for its still life murals centering on local African-American life, which were chosen and created with the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project acting as an art consultant. The Center’s tradition of community closeness and creating a relaxing atmosphere and cultural celebration through art extends to its efforts in its Mural Pavilion today.
As of July 2018, the Center is collaborating with Community Works NYC to install more permanent art and history exhibitions such as the popular “Spirit of Community” exhibit that opened in March. The project is being lauded as a celebration of the histories of Harlem peoples, past and present.
Says Community Works NYC president Barbara Horowitz, “We always need to know where we came from and the importance of our communities… Now more than ever, we all must remember who we all are.”
Harlem Hospital isn’t the only healthcare facility that dives into the arts. In a study conducted by the Cleveland Clinic recently, it was recorded that more than 60% of patients reported a reduction in stress from the hospital’s contemporary art collection. Diverging a bit from the vintage works prominent in Harlem Hospital, the Cleveland Clinic focuses on works produced in the last 30 years, including fine art posters in exam rooms, public sculptures, nature images and abstract designs.
Let’s all be honest: hospitals can be places of healing and happy events, but they carry an unsavory reputation from also being places that see many sicknesses and sadness. When hospitals can become more than a facility where people go when they’re sick or injured, some magical things happen for those who step foot in that hospital every day. Art has been clinically shown to help our physical and mental healing, but encouraging hospitals to keep art anything but clinical has been a successful experiment in the case of Harlem and Cleveland.
If you’re interested in how artwork for healthcare facilities can bolster stress relief and community togetherness, get in touch with a SmArtArt Inc. art consultant. Well-practiced in local art and healthcare art consulting, trust the top art advisors at SmArtArt to perfectly personalize each project — and no, they don’t have to be as large as the huge undertakings from Cleveland and Harlem. An art consultant can help jumpstart the artistic side of a healthcare space with just a few perfect pieces.