To mark the publication of Healing Walls: New York City Health + Hospitals Community Mural Project 2019-2021, the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter College is presenting a new exhibition: Healing Walls: Health and Art in New Deal New York.
The book and exhibition are supported by the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund. The exhibition and book will be previewed at an event at Roosevelt House on November 22 from 5:30-7:30 pm.
The exhibition features the display-for the first time in more than 40 years-of two rescued, surviving panels from the original Alice in Wonderland Visiting New York mural series. They graced the walls of Gouverneur Hospital in Lower Manhattan from the New Deal era until the facility’s demolition in 1981. All of the restored murals from the series are reproduced for the first time in the publication Healing Walls.
The exhibition focuses through text and images on the major New Deal program that hired artists to paint murals in a wide variety of public buildings, including 18 hospitals in New York City. Funding was allocated through the Federal Art Program, a signature project of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal to restore the American economy by employing Americans from every walk of life. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt proved a key figure in persuading the President to approve a wide-ranging public art project. It was the first time that the government financed a national program to support the arts, including music, dance, theater, and writers as well as the painters and sculptors.
On November 22 at 5:30 pm Roosevelt House will preview the exhibition and then present the free program Healing Walls: Historic and Collaborative Murals at New York City’s Public Hospitals. The program features the book’s co-editor Rick Luftglass, the Executive Director of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, in conversation with Dr. Eric Wei, the hospital system’s Senior Vice President; Barbara Haskell, Whitney Museum curator; and Larissa Trinder, Senior Director of the NYC Health + Hospitals Arts in Medicine program. (Online reservations required, and online viewing available.)
“We are proud of the role that the Illumination Fund has played in the creation of the 26 new murals at New York City Health + Hospitals, the largest public hospital system in our country. The Community Mural Project is the largest mural project in a public hospital system since the WPA.” said Laurie Tisch, founder and president of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund. “We created this book to bring all of the murals together in one place-not only to document them and tell a little more of their history, but also to thank the artists and more than 1500 hospital employees, community members, healthcare workers, and others who gave their time and offered their creative energy to bring the murals to fruition. We hope that Healing Walls will be a source of pride and a reminder of the ways that art can enliven and improve hospital settings.”
Commented Jennifer J. Raab, President of Hunter College: “We are honored to salute both FDR’s legacy and our generous friend Laurie Tisch’s imaginative philanthropy with this new exhibit focused on New York City hospital murals. When FDR’s New Deal programs helped fund the city’s hospital murals, it marked the first time government had ever sponsored the fine arts at that scale. Similarly, in its own art program, the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund has been sponsoring a new generation of murals for the benefit of patients, health care workers, and the communities they serve. We are proud to mark this continuity of purpose at Roosevelt House.”
Harold Holzer, Jonathan F. Fanton Director at Roosevelt House, noted: “It is a particular privilege to exhibit the murals that once adorned Gouverneur Hospital before it was closed in 1970. Roosevelt House is committed to remembering FDR’s legacy in many ways: by offering Hunter students undergraduate education in public policy and human rights,…
Read More: HEALTH AND ART IN NEW DEAL NEW YORK