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Press Releases

NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst Celebrates a Donation of 22 Paintings by Katie Yamasaki

This new addition to the health system’s art collection shines in NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst’s inpatient Adolescent Behavioral Health unit

Jun 06, 2024

Dr. Reese Abright, Director of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst; Katie Yamasaki, artist; and Dr. Helen Arteaga Landaverde, CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst

Elmhurst, NY — NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst today announced the donation of collection of 22 portraits by the Brooklyn-based artist Katie Yamasaki from her series, Pintando Postales. These joyful works have been installed in NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst’s inpatient Adolescent Behavioral Health unit, serving children ages 10 to 17.

Katie Yamasaki is an award-winning children’s book author, illustrator, and muralist. Formerly a NYC public school art teacher, Yamasaki has devoted the past 25 years of her career to using art as a bridge for connection. Her Pintando Postales portrait series documents correspondence between Yamasaki’s students at the New York City Public School for Dance and those in Santiago de Cuba, whom exchanged postcards messages to share, through their own words and images, what life is like in their respective cities. The works were exhibited at 2007 exhibition at the Galería Oriente in Santiago de Cuba and 2009 at the Brooklyn College, New York.

Cyrus by Katie Yamasaki from her Pintando Postales series.

“Originally donated by Katie Yamasaki in the fall of 2019, our planned celebration and dedication had to be put on hold as Covid-19 swept our hospital and the world. We are thrilled to finally commemorate this collection of portraits that so skillfully bridges cultures to celebrate diversity and individuality,” said NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst CEO Dr. Helen Arteaga Landaverde.

“We are pleased to acknowledge the generous art donation from Ms. Yamasaki, originally made prior to the COVID pandemic. The series of work helps us celebrate our ethnic diversity and commonalities. We thank you Ms. Yamasaki for your thoughtful gift,” said NYC Health + Hospital/Elmhurst Director of Behavioral Health Services & Psychiatry Dr. Vladimir Gasca.

“These paintings were made with immense love for my students, their peers in Cuba, and NYC youth as a whole. The lives of young people are not easy and my hope is that these paintings will feel both like a mirror, where they can see and imagine themselves more expansively, and a window, to better understand the lives of others. There is no better place I can imagine these paintings living on than with the young people receiving care at Elmhurst Hospital,” states artist Katie Yamasaki.

Katie Yamasaki with her artwork

Yamasaki’s works are now part of the NYC Health + Hospitals’ Arts in Medicine collection, which aims to create a calming atmosphere for patients and their families and supportive, healing places for staff. Observing a work of art has proven physiological outcomes, including lowering one’s cortisol levels. Art can help process emotions, foster empathy, and encourage greater connectedness, a therapeutic component in a rounded approach to healing.



Atiya Butler, Director of External Affairs and Marketing, NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst
917-319-5167, butlerat@nychhc.org

About NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst
NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst, part of the NYC Health + Hospitals health care system, is the major tertiary care provider in the borough of Queens. The 545-bed hospital is a Level 1 Trauma Center, an Emergency Heart Care Station, a Thrombectomy Capable Stroke Receiving Center, a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) Center of Excellence and a 911-Receiving Hospital. It is a premiere health care organization for several specialties, including surgery, cardiology, women’s health, pediatrics, rehabilitation medicine, renal services, and mental health services. Last year, the hospital received close to 700,000 ambulatory care visits and over 130,000 emergency room visits. Elmhurst has been named as a “Best Regional Hospital” and nationally-ranked by US News and World Report in key areas, including Heart Failure, Heart Attack, Stroke, Hip Fracture, Kidney Failure, Orthopedics, Pneumonia, and COPD. Stay connected on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ElmhurstHosp.

About NYC Health + Hospitals’ Arts in Medicine Department
The Arts in Medicine department at NYC Health + Hospitals seeks to foster the emotional well-being and promote healing and wellness for all patients and their families, employees, and the greater community by utilizing the arts, including literary, visual, and performing arts throughout the health care system. In addition to managing the system’s significant visual arts collection, the Arts in Medicine department encourages evidenced based practices and provides technical assistance to all of the system’s health care facilities and clinics. This is accomplished by combining artistic innovation and education into a comprehensive health care continuum that supports the healing benefits of the arts. For more information, visit https://www.nychealthandhospitals.org/artsinmedicine/.

About NYC Health + Hospitals
NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest public health care system in the nation, serving more than a million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient care locations across the city’s five boroughs. A robust network of outpatient, neighborhood-based primary and specialty care centers anchors care coordination with the system’s trauma centers, nursing homes, post-acute care centers, home care agency, and MetroPlus health plan—all supported by 11 essential hospitals. Its diverse workforce of more than 43,000 employees is uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest life possible. For more information, visit www.nychealthandhospitals.org and stay connected on FacebookTwitterInstagram and LinkedIn.

About Katie Yamasaki
Katie Yamasaki is an award-winning picture book author/illustrator and muralist. She has painted over 90 walls around the world, exploring local stories of identity and social justice. Yamasaki’s picture book work explores similar themes for young readers and have received numerous awards, starred reviews, and appeared on many “Best of __” lists, including Kirkus, School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Bank Street, and the New York Public Library. Her titles include: Shapes, Lines, and Light: My Grandfather’s American JourneyDad Bakes; Everything Naomi Loved; When the Cousins Came; God’s Big Plan; Fish for Jimmy, and most recently Place Hand Here

Yamasaki earned her BA from Earlham College and her MFA from the School of Visual Arts in NYC, where she served on the faculty for several years. Currently, she helps to run an expressive arts program at the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, a maximum security women’s prison in Upstate New York.  Yamasaki worked for 14 years as a public school Preschool, Spanish and Art teacher in both the Detroit and NYC public schools, and was a teaching artist at the Center for Fiction in Brooklyn. She lives in Brooklyn with her family. For more information, visit https://www.katieyamasaki.com/.