College of Nursing participates in Philadelphia mural program



Chris Scheiner

Alumni, students and faculty of the College of Nursing were among members of the Greater Philadelphia nursing community honored in the unveiling of “The Changing Face of Nursing” mural on Oct. 6 as a part of the Philadelphia Mural Arts Program. 

The Philadelphia Mural Arts Program — led by Executive Director Jane Golden — has transformed Philadelphia into “The City of Murals.” According to Louise Fitzpatrick, dean of the College of Nursing, these murals depict social issues, historical events, community leaders and minority groups that present a living history of Philadelphia. 

Golden began her work in Philadelphia in 1985 after founding the Anti-Graffiti Network in Los Angeles, Calif., which uses the power of art to break the cycle of crime in cities. 

Her work has earned her accolades, including an honorary degree from Villanova University in 2008.

“The Changing Face of Nursing” replaces “Tribute to Nursing” on the corner of Broad and Vine streets just south of Hahnemann University Hospital. The new mural shows how the face of nursing has changed even since the first mural was created, according to Fitzpatrick.

The Independence Foundation of Philadelphia, along with participating nurses from hospitals and universities in the area, joined forces to form a committee to launch the project in order to give visibility and to honor those of the nursing profession and the contributions it has made to the city of Philadelphia. 

Universities including the University of Pennsylvania, LaSalle University and Villanova University were among those involved in this “fitting tribute to the leaders of nursing,” according to Fitzpatrick. 

The committee contracted artist Meg Saligman to lead this expansive project. Funds for the project were raised by the Independence Foundation, members of the Philadelphia community and universities alike. Saligman produced a masterful work which employs LED lighting so that the pictures constantly change representing various ages, backgrounds and roles of members of the nursing profession, according to Fitzpatrick.

“The Changing Face of Nursing” differs from “Tribute to Nursing” in that it depicts actual people who have contributed to nursing in the Philadelphia area. According to Fitzpatrick, the mural is meant to serve as a representation of much larger groups, such as nurses from the Sultanate of Oman like Villanova student Suhaila K. Al Subhi.

“It was an honor to be a part of this outstanding project that captures the image of nursing in the Philadelphia area,” said Villanova graduate student Lena Congo. “I am proud to be a part of a profession that is truly committed to serving others. I believe this mural reflects the evolving roles of nurses throughout the Philadelphia area and the world.”

Fitzpatrick expressed pride in the strides that the nursing community at Villanova has made in recent years, citing the new Driscoll Hall as a dream come true. 

Fitzpatrick sees the mural project as a way for young nursing students to look back on the achievements of nurses who came before them and the opportunities they have afforded to them, including a beautiful new home at Driscoll Hall for the College of Nursing.

 “I am pleased because it gives highly visible attention to the nursing profession,” Fitzpatrick said. “We are pleased to have Villanova represented in it because Villanova has made great contributions to health care in Philadelphia. We consider ourselves to be committed to people in the inner city, and many of our clinical experiences and graduates are immersed in Philadelphia’s culture.”