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‘Art is Healing’: Outdoor exhibit celebrates Elmhurst Hospital health care workers

Pictures For Elmhurst co-founders Shayna McClelland and Eliona Cela with the NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst staff included in the "Art Is Healing" outdoor exhibition with their portraits. (Courtesy of NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst)

An outdoor exhibition opened last month in the Frank D. O’Connor Playground and NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst to celebrate the staff who “continue to bravely fight COVID-19, and the community of artists who came together to support the hospital at the height of the pandemic.”

The exhibit, titled “Art is Healing,” was presented by Pictures for Elmhurst, a small group of New Yorkers who work in the creative industry, and features work from more than 20 photographers. The opening reception was held on Wednesday, Sept. 22.

(From l. to r.) Pierre Pham and Mamie McIndoe from NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst with Eliona Cela and Shayna McClelland, Pictures for Elmhurst co-founders.

The exhibit stretches across the fencing Frank D. O’Connor Playground on Broadway at 78th Street and at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst on 41st Avenue at 80th Street. It is a continuation of an April 2020 Pictures for Elmhurst fundraiser for health care workers that had 33 photographs. New York City-based photographer Camila Falquez was among those partnered with Pictures for Elmhurst to create 31 original portraits of the hospital’s staff. 

“COVID continues to take a toll on frontline staff and the community, yet we come in every day willing to make a difference and save as many lives as we can. Camila captured the essence of not only who we are, but what we do,” said Mamie McIndoe, Care Experience, NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst on the Picture for Elmhurst website. “Words cannot describe the support that we feel from this community of artists who have come together for the greater good. May art continue to prevail and aid in our collective healing,”

NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst was the “epicenter of the epicenter” of the COVID-19 outbreak in early 2020, and 95% of the hospital’s operations were dedicated to COVID-19 patients. During this time, Pictures for Elmhurst was founded and launched a print sale fundraiser to assist NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst with the purchase of PPE and lifesaving equipment, raising $1.38 million by the end of the 10-day fundraiser.

“At this trying time, as we continue to treat a community recovering from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are so honored to partner with a tremendously talented group of photographers and visual artists to recognize our healthcare workers,” said Helen Arteaga Landaverde, MPH, CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst. “We will never forget the deep kindness and generosity of the Pictures for Elmhurst team.”

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