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Art project blooms at NY Hospital Queens

Queens native Raina Panagiotopoulos' painting "Queens Love" is part of the Art Garden display at New York Hospital Queens. Photo courtesy New York Hospital Queens
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A garden grows in Flushing.

Even though fall is on the way, an unexpected surprise — a colorful community garden — has bloomed in a neighborhood hospital.

Its seeds were planted by artists made up of patients, hospital employees and community members, with a creative streak. It was a labor of love.

At 56-45 Main St. in Flushing, New York Hospital Queens’ growing Community Art Garden adorns a main corridor and proudly boasts its first blooms. While not flowers, these are a series of works painted with bright acrylic on canvas, conveying relevant themes about wellness, healing and compassion. And also about community and anything else that says Queens.

At a reception held last week, participating artists and other visitors were invited to view the garden’s first installation.

“The artwork we received is very impressive. The response to the art garden has been extremely positive from patients, visitors and employees,” said Kerry McHale, coordinator of public affairs, who spearheaded this project. “I look forward to Phase 2 of this project and seeing the garden grow.”

Among the works was a collection of wonderfully symbolic paintings created by employees from NYHQ’s Department of Orthopaedics & Rehabilitation. They included, cheerful ’scapes, hands holding the world and even a comical piece with flowers, which were growing out of the open top of a man’s head. The poor guy had a puzzled look on his face.

A Queens native, artist Raina Panagiotopoulos graduated from Queens College with a bachelor’s degree in Fine Art and Art Education. Her work, “Queens Love,” combined all the great stuff this borough is known for: Its multicultural aspect, its iconic Unisphere in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, and, of course, the No. 7 train, which seems to connect it all as it wound its way across the canvas.

During the reception, blank 12” x 12” canvases were distributed for the next phase of the Community Art Garden. Artist gardeners are being asked to convey one or more of the aforementioned themes in their works.

“The art garden brings joy and inspiration to our patients and visitors. It enhances the look of the corridor and is very uplifting,” said Anita Liu-Chen, O.T.R./L., C.L.T., administrative director of Occupational Therapy, Physical Therapy, and Speech Pathology.

As it grows, the garden will keep bringing smiles to people’s faces. Did you know that smiling promotes health and wellness?

Artists can pick up and drop off blank canvases at: The Department of Volunteer Services in the hospital, 56-45 Main St., Flushing, (Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.) Paintings and signed release forms must be submitted by Sept. 30, to the Department of Volunteer Services. For additional information or questions about the Community Art Garden, contact the Division of Public Affairs and Marketing at 718-670-1065.

Posted 12:00 am, September 1, 2013
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