Art to honor essential workers

Samantha Boring
Created: June 24, 2020 06:03 PM

(ABC 6 NEWS) - It has been a difficult year for essential workers. The pandemic has caused many uncertainties and stress, but now Rochester is coming together to honor the workers that keep the city safe. 

Lifeline: Portraits of Rochester Essential Workers, will open to the public on July 1st.

 "Being exposed to COVID-19 in a way that those of us that can remain home don't have to," Artistic Director of the Rochester Art Center, Sheila Dickinson said. 

"We reached out to the community to tell us who they felt was worthy of this," Dickinson said.

Nominations came from industries such as health care workers to food workers.

"I was blown away by that. It was one of my coworkers who had nominated me," nominee, Dr. Priya Sampathkumar said.

18 local artists were paired with each nominee and then they quickly put together portraits of the workers. 

"In my small way, as an artist to be able to help celebrate the many heroes that we have here in Rochester are really playing an important role on a global stage now," local artist, Simon Huelsbeck said.

From felt, embroidery, to watercolor, the portraits captured essential workers in many different forms. 

"I had never met doctor Priya and I was happy she had such a great smile. You know with the subject matter, and the world being as crazy and dark as it is right now. I really wanted to take a fun and positive kind of approach to it," Huelsbeck said.

For Dr. Sampathkumar, it was not just about her, but to recognize the hard work being done. 

"To be apart of this amazing group of people. I've had a chance to walk around and look at some of the other people that were nominated. And everyone is doing something unique to help keep Rochester safe," Sampathkumar said.

"It's truly unique, right, the artist created something truly unique of someone that who is themselves... so unique," Dickinson said. 

A different way to show the people that have done so much for Rochester. "Little things like these art projects I think that can bring people so much joy are huge," Sampathkumar said. 

The Rochester Art Center will open back up on July 1st and display Lifeline: Portraits of Rochester Essential Workers through November 30th. The portraits will then be donated to the nominees they were created after. 


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