|Mayor Bloomberg with Harlem Hospital Exec. Dir. Denise Soares, RN, MA; HHC Global Ambassador Swizz Beatz; and other VIPs.|
|Swizz Beatz and Dr. John W.V. Cordice|
With the theme of “respecting the past and embracing the future,” Harlem Hospital Center opened its new Mural Pavilion, a $325 million healthcare facility that embraces the future by greatly expanding healthcare services to the Harlem community, and respects the past by housing historic Works Progress Administration murals painted by African American artists.
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, Deputy Mayor Linda I. Gibbs, HHC President Alan D. Aviles, Senior Vice-President Iris Jimenez-Hernandez, and Harlem Hospital Executive Director Denise Soares were joined by more than 400 people at the opening of the Mural Pavilion on Sept. 27. The event featured Kasseem “Swizz Beatz” Dean, artist and music producer, who has been named the first HHC Global Ambassador.
An evening event honored Dr. John W.V. Cordice for his pivotal role as a member of the surgical team that saved the life of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., after he was stabbed near the heart at a book-signing in Harlem in 1958. Also in attendance at the opening of the Mural Pavilion were the families of Georgette Seabrooke and Vertis Hayes – two of the artists who painted the Works Progress Administration (WPA) murals.
|Mayor Bloomberg, Senior VP Jimenez-Hernandez and Deputy Mayor Gibbs in front of the mural "Modern Medicine" (1940) by Charles Alston, as Exec. Dir. Soares points to another mural.|
The new six-story, 195,000-square foot Mural Pavilion connects two major hospital buildings, the Martin Luther King, Jr. Pavilion and the Ronald H. Brown Ambulatory Care Pavilion, creating one large, integrated campus for the 286-bed Harlem Hospital Center. The patient pavilion is equipped with state-of-the-art technology and expands access to preventive health services, emergency room care and specialty care. The facility also addresses the community’s high rates of asthma, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, HIV/AIDS, and stroke.
“HHC made a commitment to this community and today we are pleased to present the new Harlem – a modern hospital with a therapeutic environment for patients and the efficient design that helps our highly skilled, deeply committed staff provide safe, high quality care for Harlem residents,” said HHC President Aviles.
|Mayor Bloomberg with Denise Soares and Iris Jimenez-Hernandez in front of the mural "Pursuit of Happiness" by Vertis Hayes.|
|Detail from "Pursuit of Happiness" by Vertis Hayes.|
“Harlem Hospital Center is the medical facility of choice for this community and with the opening of The Mural Pavilion, we’re giving this community the respect and level of healthcare it deserves,” said Soares.
The Mural Pavilion also features a special public art gallery to showcase the hospital’s historic WPA Federal Art Project murals. Originally painted on the hospital’s walls in the 1930s, these powerful artworks were removed to undergo restoration six years ago. The murals by artists Vertis Hayes, Alfred Crimi, and Charles Alston are now fully restored and on permanent display in the hospital’s Mural Gallery. The culturally and historically significant 1937 mural – “Recreation in Harlem” by Georgette Seabrooke – is on exhibit in the atrium while it undergoes restoration.
Harlem Hospital and The Fund for HHC continue to raise funds for the restoration of the mural, which will cost a total of $259,000. For information go to The Fund for HHC.