A large-scale multimedia installation built on Jefferson’s medical campus by visual artist Pepón Osorio, Convalescence is rooted in the artist’s personal experience of cancer diagnosis and treatment. The project highlights systemic health and health care inequities in the U.S. and includes stories from other Philadelphians of color who have lived through, or are currently experiencing, life-threatening illnesses. Drawing on relationships with groups typically underserved by the health care system, Osorio’s installation explores the nature of community-based care. The project extends Jefferson's ongoing medical humanities program, which engages students in the arts and humanities in parallel with their health professions education. A series of public programs created with community-based partners committed to health equity will be coordinated in conjunction with the installation.

Dates: September 3-November 1, 2024 

Location: Thomas Jefferson University, 901 Walnut Street Lobby, Philadelphia, PA, 19107

Major support for Convalescence has been provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage, with additional support from the Wagner Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

About the Artist

Pepón Osorio is known for his provocative, large-scale, multimedia installations that merge conceptual art and community dynamics. Osorio has worked with over 25 communities across the United States and internationally, creating installations based on their real-life experiences. His work has been presented at the Whitney Museum of American Art; El Museo del Barrio; Smithsonian American Art Museum; El Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico; and El Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico, among others. He is the recipient of various distinctions including a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, the Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture, The Herb Alpert Award in the Arts, and a Pew Center for Arts & Heritage Fellowship.

Project Team 

  • Rob Blackson - Curator 
  • Jacque Liu - Project Manager
  • Megan Voeller - Project Director

Project Thinking Partners 

  • Erica ‘Quinha’ Mukai Faria, RN - Artist and Registered Nurse
  • Magda Martinez - Poet
  • Ricardo Nuila, MD - Physician and Author
  • José Ortiz-Pagán - Artist and Ritual Mechanic 

Questions? Email Megan Voeller, Director of Humanities, Thomas Jefferson University