Philadelphia Dedicates New Nursing Mural

    • October 28, 2010

The public face of nursing just got a makeover.

Philadelphia’s mural arts community officially dedicated a restored version of a 6,500-square-foot mural about the nursing profession earlier this month in the city center.

Called “The Evolving Face of Nursing,” the mural’s triptych layout incorporates the words and images of hundreds of nurses in the city. Nursings in all settings—from the classroom to the bedside to the living room—are represented in the project.

The work also features historical nursing imagery and modern medical symbols and incorporates both paint and light-emitting diodes, or LED lights, to speak to nurses’ changing roles over time.

Visible from major Philadelphia thoroughfares including Broad Street and the Vine Street expressway, the mural will be seen by thousands of individuals who travel on those busy streets every day.

“This mural will be the new iconic image for the nursing profession in the 21st century,” said Susan Sherman, president and chief executive officer of the Independence Foundation, a nonprofit organization in Philadelphia that supported the project.

The mural was officially dedicated on October 6, 2010—one day after the release of a much-anticipated report by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), and supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), about the future of nursing.

Meg Saligman, the mural’s lead artist, painted the new mural over an older one about the heritage of nursing that was chipping and cracked. The reimagined mural speaks to nursing’s past as well as to its future, according to the City of Philadelphia Mural Arts Program, which commissioned the project.

“The Evolving Face of Nursing is a narrative that begins with the bygone days of starched uniforms and hats and moves to the story of present-day nurses who take on increasing responsibility, practicing with knowledge, skill, compassion and care,” according to a news release issued by the program.

The mural was targeted for renovation this year by the Mural Arts Program, a nonprofit organization that supports mural projects to transform community neighborhoods and individual lives. The nursing mural was supported by numerous organizations, and seven nursing schools in the region served as partners on the project.

The Mural Arts Program got its start in 1984 as part of a city-wide anti-graffiti campaign. In its quarter century of existence, the program has produced more than 3,000 murals throughout the city. Philadelphia has since come to be known as the “City of Murals.”

Saligman, a renowned muralist who has created other murals in Philadelphia and elsewhere, began preparations for the mural in October 2009, designed the project over the winter and spring of 2010, and began to install the mural in April.