Flatbush artist Imani Shanklin Roberts will transform a wall at Bed-Stuy’s Woodhull Hospital into a tribute to healthcare heroes.

Roberts was one of ten artists chosen by New York City Health and Hospitals’ Arts in Medicine program to lead a community-based mural project in one of the city’s hospitals. Roberts’ mural will be on the outside of Woodhull Hospital and use the theme ‘Healthcare Heroes’ Resilience and Strength Through COVID-19.’

Roberts, picked from 143 applications, has hosted virtual focus groups with Woodhull Hospital staff and representatives from the surrounding community in the past two weeks. She said her mural would focus on the strong bond between the Woodhull and its neighbors.

“As an artist and enthused educator who peels apart topics on race, gender, and identity, [Roberts] seeks to create and facilitate socially responsive work that encourages ideas of self-realized liberation,” her website reads. Photo: Courtesy of Imani Shanklin Roberts.

“After speaking with the healthcare professionals, the hospital CEO and the hospital’s community representatives, their thoughts around the mural were focused on the connection between the community and the hospital workers,” Roberts said. “The Woodhull healthcare workers have been fueled by the support they have from their surrounding community.”

This project is an important element of NYC Health and Hospitals’ arts-based initiatives, made possible by $1.5 million in funding from the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.

“The Arts in Medicine Community Mural Project is another example of NYC Health and Hospitals’ comprehensive approach to healthcare and our investment in whole communities, not just individuals,” said NYC Health and Hospitals Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer Machelle Allen in a press release.

“After months of isolations, we’re looking forward to safely bring together patients, staff, and community members and capture this moment-in-time through art.”

Roberts earned a BFA/MS in Art Education upon graduating from Pratt Institute in 2014. Photo: Courtesy of Imani Shanklin Roberts.

Roberts said her mural would reflect the togetherness and strength she had witnessed over the past few weeks in the wake of COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement.

“The purpose of this mural is to show the resilience, perseverance and trust this community has in each other,” Roberts said. “I also want the mural to inspire hope and show the extreme diversity in this community. I think it is super important to show the hospital is a melting pot of people, just like the neighborhood that surrounds it.”

The official paint party will be on September 18. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only representatives from the community and the hospital will be invited.


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Covering everything Brooklyn. Twitter: @MLevNews

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