Georgette Seabrooke, Recreation in Harlem,
Below is a photograph that shows Georgette Seabrooke at work on her mural entitled “Recreation in Harlem” for the nurses’ recreation room at Harlem Hospital Center. She made the mural with funding from the Works Progress Administration’s Federal Art Project (WPA/FAP). The WPA commissioned the mural in 1936. The New York Times notes that, “Harlem Hospital’s were perhaps the first major federal government commissions awarded to African-Americans.”
“’Recreation in Harlem’ depicts children roughhousing, a couple dancing, a group of women chatting.” It was rediscovered during hospital renovation in 2004.
This and the other murals, originally in the old hospital and visible only to staff, have been restored for over $4 million and hung in the lobby of the new Mural Pavillon, opened in 2012. In a lovely gesture of respect, the hospital now projects African-American artist Vertis Hayes’ “Pursuit of Happiness” onto the enormous glass facade of the pavillon, where it is visible to all.
Seabrooke’s mural was the most “conservation intensive” of all of the murals and may still be undergoing restoration (New York Times).
National Archives and Records Administration, Negative 12708-C
"At Harlem Hospitals, Murals Get a New Life", New York Times, Sept. 16, 2012
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