Murals can elevate and amplify a community’s story and voice in beautiful and meaningful ways. And when a mural is placed in a medical office — which can sometimes appear sterile, perhaps even intimidating — it can transform that space into a nurturing and inviting environment.
A mural recently installed at Kaiser Permanente’s North Interstate Medical Center in Portland, Oregon, illustrates these points perfectly and celebrates Kaiser Permanente members, employees, and physicians, and our connection to the North and Northeast Portland area.
Diversity, health, and healing
The work is a collaboration between Portland photographer Julie Keefe and local artist Angelina Marino-Heidel. They wanted to highlight the diversity of the surrounding neighborhood and contribute to the health and healing of our members by providing something familiar and soothing.
The mural’s pastel colors are designed to calm and reassure. The design imparts a sense of movement to the space, leading the eye from one figure to another while transporting the viewer into the diversity of the North and Northeast Portland neighborhoods it represents.
Celebrating heritage and history
The art project is an effort not only to bring people together to celebrate the heritage and history of the community but also to provide psychological comfort and improve the health of Kaiser Permanente visitors and patients.
Dozens of Kaiser Permanente employees — including a 10-member Art Committee comprised of patient partners as well as staff from Facilities, Human Resources, Communications, Community Health, and Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity — have contributed to the mural’s
“I feel it’s an honor for my family and friends to see my image incorporated into the mural. I believe people of color see themselves when they see me and feel more welcome.”
— Bernadine Clay, Kaiser Permanente patient partner
“We thought that one of the best ways to reflect community was to add images from the surrounding neighborhood and personalize it by adding Kaiser Permanente staff.”
— Ron Shoals, Kaiser Permanente Community Engagement program manager
LaShonda Bradley, a Kaiser Permanente certified medical assistant, thinks the mural is a wonderful addition to the medical office. “I look forward to seeing it when I walk in the building daily,” she says. “There is a sense of solidarity and love for this community. The mural tells the story of the many people who grew up in this neighborhood through their smiles and laughter.”