“Peace and Serenity” was the prompt that students in Baldwin High School art classes were asked to keep in mind when working on “calming” murals that were hung in Long Island Jewish Valley Stream hospital on June 9.
The artistic donations, which have become a tradition with the school district and the hospital, also served as a thank-you to the health care staff that took part in the mentoring of Baldwin Medical Academy students. The academies the high school offers help students become acquainted with various careers long before they commit to one.
Junior Biverly Brutus and sophomore Mia Biazon were two of the 26 students who presented their artwork at the event. Brutus, who is inspired by classical artists like da Vinci, said he felt gratified giving the mural away. “It has brought me immense joy to see the reactions,” he said, “because art is a form of expression, and to create art that is able to inspire people is a great honor to have.”
Brutus said he hoped his image would help patients and staff who may be struggling physically or mentally. “When you’re going through something like that, being in a hospital, your mood is basically down,” he said. “So if you’re able to look at something, and even for a moment you lose thought of what you were feeling before, it lifts your mood. That would be a great thing, you know . . . like a breath of fresh air.”
Biazon also spoke about perseverance through a tough time. “It makes me feel happy, just because I know that I’m going to be able to help out a lot of people with my art as well as the hospital staff,” she said. “I’m sure they’ve been working very, very hard over the past two years, especially with Covid, and I hope that my art, as well as my classmates’ art, will be able to provide them a sense of calm.”
Biazon said she was thankful for the opportunity to have a positive impact, just as the Fine and Performing Arts Academy, in which she’s enrolled, has had on her. “Without that academy,” she said, “I wouldn’t be able to attend the art classes that I do.”
Computer graphics teacher Kelly Iovine, who works with both Brutus and Biazon, said the tradition the high school and the hospital share is always a high point. “At the event, when the artwork is revealed for the first time,” Iovine said, “to see the joy and excitement of the students, Baldwin faculty and hospital staff is a highlight of the school year.
This opportunity allows young artists to use their talent to reach others in need,” she added. “Being able to help facilitate such an amazing experience for the art students is something that I hope to continue.”
Christopher O’Brien, chief financial officer at LIJVS, told the Herald that each year, “The students at Baldwin High School continue to impress us,” and added, “The murals will be proudly displayed throughout the hospital and in patient rooms, and they represent hope, plain and simple. When you’re sick in a hospital, you can feel hopelessness and despair. These murals represent hope and optimism, and they are integral to the healing process for our patients.”