Sweet Spot With Mike Sugerman: Harlem Clinic Doubles As Graffiti Art Gallery

Mike Sugerman
October 18, 2019 - 5:00 am

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- Medicine is an art, but no more so than in a Harlem gallery where the two disciplines meet, bearing healthy results.

Pediatrics 2000 in Harlem is both an art gallery and a family clinic where doctors work around graffiti artists.  It's the brainchild of Hugo Martinez, who is a legendary figure in the graffiti world since the 1970s.

"It's pretty unique," said Dr. Robert Perello. "I don't know if you remember when you were a kid and you went to a doctor's office. Wasn't it kind of scary and sterile and intimidating? Here the kids when they come here they have fun they actually don't want to even leave."

Children open up in ways they might not otherwise.

"It is enticing, it brings them to me, they would open up a conversation," said William Carrero, an art therapist who draws with the kids and ends up sometimes hearing things that they may not say around other medical professionals about abuse, their home life or other secrets. 

"We think that the merger of art and medicine in health literacy helps communicate problems," Perello said.

As for artists like JD, a player of notice in the iconic 1990s graffiti scene, it's about redemption — a place his passion and art gets respect and validation.

"Back then it was really frowned upon, and no one really considered it an art like they do today," JD said. "Who would've thought?"

The art changes on a quarterly basis and this new show opens Saturday, October 19. For more information about the Martinez Gallery visit, martinezgallery.com.