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Across the Margin: The Podcast

Episode 164: Healing Walls with Larissa Trinder

This episode of Across The Margin : The Podcast presents an interview with the senior director of the NYC Health + Hospitals Arts in Medicine program, Larissa Trinder. Larissa is one of the talented people behind the project that inspired the new book Healing Walls: New York City Health + Hospitals Community Mural Project (2019 - 2021) which commemorates a brilliant and benevolent three-year Community Mural Project that persists as a flagship of the NYC Health + Hospitals Arts in Medicine Program. Supported by the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund, the Community Mural Project is designed to encourage creativity, lower stress, build trust, and to increase engagement between hospital staff and members of their surrounding communities. The murals also create space for joy as well as healing for patients and frontline medical workers who are always under enormous pressure and were hit especially hard during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Community Mural Project builds upon a mural tradition that began in the 1930s when the Works Progress Administration (WPA) supported the creation of murals in virtually every New York public hospital. Healing Walls — a beautiful coffee table book that was gifted to every H+H staff member who participated — vividly documents the ongoing community project as well as many WPA-era hospital murals with new scholarship and images. What’s best is — 100% of all sales of the book will benefit NYC Health + Hospitals Arts in Medicine programs. In this episode host Michael Shields and Larissa Trinder (and all too briefly editor and author Jan Rothschild) dig into exactly how the Community Mural Project initially came to life while exploring how the gifted artists who are participating in the project were selected. They discuss the cathartic power of art and how decades of research prove that the arts can play a role in “healing the healers” as well as improving patient outcomes and forging community health awareness and partnerships. They talk about the painting parties that occurred when the murals were first erected and the collaborative process that goes into creating each mural that ensures they are strong representations of their respective communities. They talk about the HHArt empathy workshops, a fascinating and important idea known as “Social Prescribing,” and so much more.


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