Michael Gittes is among the countless people grateful to health care heroes during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
As such, the Los Angeles-based artist wanted to thank them in a meaningful way. He had already seen stories of communities delivering food and cheering for hospital employees each night, so he did what he does best and got creative!
For his latest project, “Strangers To No One,” Michael asked his manager to find a nonprofit hospital with an intensive care unit in New York City. Then he began painting 100 abstract flowers a day. When he reached 1,800, he sent them across the country to Brooklyn’s Interfaith Medical Center, where staff members once treated 116 COVID-19 patients in a single day.
When the truck arrived, everyone from nurses to janitors and security guards received their own work of art!
“I wanted to make sure each one of them felt everybody loves them,” Michael said. “They should feel proud and it should be like a reward. I hope that every day they see it and be reminded that what they’re doing is important.”
Anonymous collectors funded the project by purchasing the artist’s works, and each flower was painted with a syringe. While this technique isn’t new to Michael, the health care workers give it new meaning!
The recipients couldn’t be more thrilled, especially Sheila Arthur Smith, who lost her sister to COVID-19 while surviving it herself.
“She died the same day I was released,” Sheila said. “This picture that I’m holding is in memory of her.”
As for the artist, he wants every hospital and frontline worker to know this: “We love you, everybody loves you. You’re loved by millions of people you’ll never meet. You’re not a stranger to anyone. These flowers are from everyone.”
What a beautiful way to spread gratitude! Thank you, Michael, for showering these hardworking people with the appreciation and goodness they deserve.
Check out more of the paintings in the video below, and share this story in honor of our health care heroes.
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