How public art in NYC represents the evolving role of health care

There are countless reasons why New Yorkers love New York. One of them is the indescribable energy that flows through the streets—the constant opportunity to discover something new, be it a restaurant, bar, shop, or museum. As boarded-up storefronts become the norm due to COVID-19, that energy that makes New York, New York, has been impacted too.

The uncertainty surrounding when—and if—you’ll be able to support your local businesses or catch up with the business owners again has jarred our sense of routine, normalcy and community. You likely know the names of the barista at your go-to coffee shop and the owner of the small bakery around the corner who makes those croissants you love. Seeing each boarded-up, formerly bustling local spot is like a tiny punch in the gut.

Recognizing the negative impact that stark, shut-up shops have on the community, Northwell Health, the largest health care system in the New York region, wanted to do something about it. The organization, which has demonstrated unparalleled leadership since the beginning of New York’s COVID-19 response by closely collaborating with government officials and playing an instrumental role in expanding testing capacity, showed that they’re committed to giving back to the community even beyond medical care. As we look beyond this time of crisis, the future of health care likely includes brands like Northwell playing a different kind of role in their communities—supporters of culture, connectors of people and contributors to our broader wellness. It is in the spirit of this future view that Northwell leapt at the opportunity to engage people in a different way.

Northwell is working through the team at Monigle to sponsor an initiative with local artists to beautify empty spaces with messages of hope and resilience. The murals springing up across the city offer encouragement to passersby stepping outside to get some fresh air. The artwork installations in the typically busy Manhattan neighborhoods of the Flatiron District, SoHo and Kips Bay are providing positive impact in these particularly barren areas right now given shop closures. Our team at Monigle is grateful for the opportunity to be collaborating with Northwell, the artists and business owners on this meaningful program.

The vibrant colors added by these New York artists is a beautiful contrast to the nailed-up plywood barricades. The energetic spirit behind the artwork and its creators parallels nicely with the summer flowers and sunshine that New Yorkers are looking forward to.

It’s a reminder that the spirit of New York—the vibrance, the color, the creativity—is still here. It’s resilient. Just like us.


What are your thoughts on this artwork? How have you seen creative thinking and resilience in your cities? Reach out to us – we would love to continue the conversation.