Chicago, April 18, 2023- Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, several Cook County Commissioners and Cook County Health (CCH) leaders recently unveiled community murals at Blue Island Health Center, Provident Hospital and the CCH Professional Building.

“Cook County Health continues our commitment to providing equitable, accessible health care by investing and working to make inviting spaces for healing,” Preckwinkle said. “With these murals, our patients and staff will see warming colors and themes that represent the individuals we serve here.”

These three unveilings are a part of a series of murals planned for all CCH health care sites. Community stakeholders provided input throughout the creation of the mural to build trust and engagement between the health care sites and its communities, build neighborhood pride, and increase awareness of the benefits of the public health care system.

“We are making advancements and investments in our system to make our services more accessible and consumer-centric,” Rocha said. “It is essential for our spaces to reflect this commitment to excellence and our dedication to serving our community. We know that a welcoming, visually engaging facility helps reduce patient anxiety, improves satisfaction, and contributes to a holistic healing environment.”

The mural project is made possible by the Cook County Health Foundation and its donors, who provided funding for art installations across the health system.

“Public art can be a particular powerful tool,” said Sylvia M. Zaldivar, Executive Director of the Cook County Health Foundation. “When community members see themselves reflected in social spaces, they feel a sense of respect.  It allows people to identify and take pride in the place where they are from, live in, or in this case, receive care.  Art brings people and community together and that is the kind of collaborative project that we are so privileged to participate in.”

The murals were painted by the artists, as well as CCH patients, staff, and community members.

“The goal of this project is to bring people together to create art that builds community, peace, and celebrates our resilience. These murals will bring joy to our patients, visitors and staff. Medicine heals the body, and art heals the spirit,” said Linh Dang, Chief Experience Officer, Cook County Health.

Artist Lorelei Pement was selected to create the mural at the Blue Island Health Center. The mural has three overlapping circles representing the imagery of the Blue Island community and the health center. It showcases people of different backgrounds, historic buildings and transportation in Blue Island.  In the middle of the mural, are a pair of doctor’s hands demonstrating togetherness and unity in the community.

“The mural was created through a series of curated concepts designed to adhere to the people and staff in the community,” said Pement, who also drove around Blue Island to get a sense of the architecture and landmarks. “We also discussed the importance of inclusiveness and diversity. The process was overall rewarding and gave others the opportunity to have community engagement as well as help create a timeless piece of art.”

Commissioners Monica Gordon and Donna Miller spoke about how the Blue Island Health Center mural reflected the communities they serve and the health system.

“I am proud to be in partnership to continue to provide equitable care that follows Cook County strategic plan and roadmap,” Commissioner Gordon said. “Let’s continue to work together to build trust and engage the community.”

“This health system represents the true diversity of Cook County and what patients want to see when they come,” Commissioner Miller said. “We have murals that encompass that and represent family, community and a strong healthcare system.”

Damon Lamar Reed created the mural at Provident Hospital. The imagery of the mural reflects its creation as the first African American hospital in the country and how it continues to be a champion of health equity for families and the community on the South Side.

“I’m honored to be able to create artwork and add beauty to this building,” Reed said. “It was an honor to create something beautiful for a great hospital.”

Commissioner Lowry reflected on how the Provident Hospital mural is a generational gift to the community.

“Studies have shown that overall healthcare and specifically mental healthcare is enhanced when the community has greenspace, places for kids to play and areas where you have culture and art,” Commissioner Lowry said. “This mural is a gift for today, tomorrow and for generations to come.”

Artist Beth Chin was selected to create the mural at the CCH Professional Building. The mural depicts a multiracial paternal care figure holding two children close to him while walking outside the CCH Professional Building.  Stroger Hospital can be seen in the reflected glass of the building in the mural as a way to honor the achievements of the hospital.

“The male is breaking the standard gender norms of nurturing the community,” Chin said.  “It is a combination of contemporary urban artwork technique tied to impressionism, giving the work a home within the modern Professional Building while upholding the tradition of the Cook County Health.”

“In the words of Keith Haring, ‘art should be something that liberates your soul, provokes the imagination and encourages people to go further,’” said Commissioner Dennis Deer. This piece of art does just that for me. It meets at the intersection of family, healthcare, community and the human spirit cohabitating. Thank you to the wonderful artist and all those involved in making this a success.

Additional murals will be installed at the remaining CCH clinical sites over the coming year.