Borough of Rivers: The Bronx

Submitted by Montefiore Health System

66+

Client: Montefiore Medical Center

Location: Bronx, NY, United States

Completion date: 2020

Project Team

Director

Jodi Moise

Montefiore Medical Center

Artist

Jennifer Maravillas

Curator

Olivia Davis

Montefiore Medical Center

Miotto Mosaic Art Studios

Stephen Miotto

Mosaicist

Virtual Reality General Manager

Jay Van Buren

Early Adopter, LLC

Virtual Reality Director of Product and Business Development

Chris Gaughan

Early Adopter, LLC

Virtual Reality Creative Director

Bracey Smith

Early Adopter, LLC

Video Creator

Jett Cain

Green Ghost Studios

Overview

Borough of Rivers is a commission for the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore’s new Pediatric Infusion Suite in The Bronx, NY, which treats patients suffering from cancer, sickle cell disease, and other related illnesses. The project spans one floor (sq. ft.: 7950) with artwork integrated into the elevator lobby, reception area, nurses’ stations, and infusion treatment rooms. The media features digital files transferred to glass panels, vinyl and mosaics. Artist Jennifer Maravillas, known for contemporary watercolor art and illustrations focusing on urban narratives, developed an engaging theme focused on The Bronx, featuring local landmarks – the NY Botanical Gardens, The Bronx Zoo – as well as subways and local wildlife, both on land and in the rivers. Patients, ranging in age from 1-21 years, frequently visit the Suite up to five times/week. To further advance the art experience for patients and others, the artist collaborated with a technology team to create a first-of-its-kind social virtual reality (VR) environment. The artwork on the walls magically allows children to travel into a 3D world. Now, patients receiving treatments are encouraged to play/dialog simultaneously with other patients/family members in the suite together inside the same VR experience.

Goals

The primary goal was Patient Experience. The integration of artwork throughout the Pediatric Infusion Suite provides a backdrop that is welcoming, joyful and restorative. Employing the theme of The Bronx community, Maravillas created an experience that extends past the viewer’s initial glance and continues throughout the patient visit. The artist’s illustrations, colorful watercolors, and her dream-like interpretation of the borough provides patients with distractions and offers a moment of respite. Visual celebrations of The Bronx, community landmarks, personalities and the urban vernacular are visible throughout the site. An expansive mural measuring 60’ w sets the tone for overall experience. Six unique images have been reproduced in multiples and serve as the backdrop in Treatment Rooms. Mosaics installed on the façades of the Nurses’ Stations are easily viewable from treatment rooms. Utilizing innovative technologies that children are familiar with outside the walls of the hospital, social VR is enjoyed within the Infusion Suite to create a more immersive experience of the artwork. By redirecting patients’ fears, pain and loneliness, the art program provides an immersive experience that seeks to create a positive environment while accelerating the healing process.

Process

The Fine Art Program and artist Jennifer Maravillas directed the team to bring this project to fruition. Working with the Design and Construction Team, mosaicist, Technology Team and contractors with input from the Department of Pediatric Oncology and Child Life Program, Borough of Rivers: The Bronx is the result of a two-year effort to conceptualize and produce the multiple elements comprising this commission. Maravillas’ meticulous digital files allowed for a seamless transfer to multiple glass panels culminating in the feature 60’ x 8’ mural. Collaborating with the mosaicist, these tactile works 4 @ (3-1/2” h x 20’ w) were integrated into the façades of two nurse’s stations and are viewable from the treatment rooms. The technology team then translated the artist’s files into a social VR experience. Collectively, the team remained mindful of the Medical Center environment and the special requirements necessary for the Pediatric Infusion Suite. Special effort and careful coordination between all parties resulted in an art program that has transformed the Pediatric Infusion Suite into a life-affirming environment.