“This is an entire community of people who stepped up, came to work every single day no matter how hard it was. And we wanted to recognize and celebrate all of those people.”
In June 2020, MDBF made a grant to Arts & Health at Duke for a mural commemorating the more than 24,000 Duke University Hospital employees who bravely served their community during the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Sharon Swanson, then manager of Arts & Health at Duke commented, “This is an entire community of people who stepped up, came to work every single day no matter how hard it was. And we wanted to recognize and celebrate all of those people.”
Sean Kernick, a Raleigh artist, was selected to portray all members of the Duke Hospital team --food services, transport, doctors, nurses, technicians and more—who risked their own safety to care for patients. He made his backyard his studio and spray-painted an eight-panel mural featuring actual hospital employees. The mural is displayed in the concourse that leads from the main hospital to the Duke Cancer Center and Duke Medicine Pavilion. Now a permanent part of the Duke University Hospital Art Collection, it has touched the hearts of the hospital staffers and become a point of pride for all those on the front lines during the pandemic.
[Photo: Chris Hildreth, Rooster Media]