COVID-19 reminds us that life is precious, family and friends are important and a healthy lifestyle makes for a better life.
The coronavirus pandemic also sheds light on how essential it is to have dedicated workers in our community who put in the time and risk their health to take care of the sick and wounded.
The city of Wyandotte has been home to Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital since 1926. Many essential workers call Wyandotte home. Residents have been born there, received care there and said goodbye to loved ones there. Because of this history, the "Home of the Heroes" project grew wings and became Wyandotte's love letter to all the hard-working folks in the COVID-19 trenches.
Patt Slack, owner of River's Edge Gallery in downtown Wyandotte, was inspired to say thank you to these workers who travel along Biddle Avenue, the main business route, to and from work. The passing ambulances with sirens blaring are a reminder of what is happening just down the road.
She felt a need to demonstrate gratitude and the best way she knew how was through art. She put a team together to create a 4-by-6-foot movable outdoor mural honoring Wyandotte’s healthcare workers.
Conrad Lustig, who has created much art for the city of Wyandotte promotions and events and is a resident artist of River's Edge Gallery, was first approached for a design. Jeremy Hansen joined the team and became the main force behind getting it done. He found a location to paint the mural and was able to have much of the needed materials donated by Allegra Marketing and Blick Art Materials in Dearborn.
He then created a venue for others who wanted to be a part of the project and received financial assistance from Love Wyandotte, Joe's Hamburgers, Salon Misha, Willow Tree, Total Health Foods and Chelsea Menswear to help pay for the artists’ time and other expenses. “Wyandotte businesses really stepped up to help with funds and extra materials,” Hansen said.
An artist in his own right, Hansen also assisted Lustig in painting the pop art style mural, which uses solid black and white to emulate the printed style of early silk screens and comic books, with bright splashes of color inspired by the murals and street art of Detroit. The two put in roughly 100 hours to complete the piece.
“Conrad is a young artist, really fresh, and we want to foster his amazing talent,” Hansen said. “We wanted to do something universally cool and poingnant for everyone to enjoy– that’s how the whole pop art idea came about, and he created this amazing piece.”
The mural will be on rotation throughout the city of Wyandotte for a short time, starting this week outside Total Health Foods and ending at Glowfish Studios with the possibility of having it permanently displayed at Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital.
Artist Con Lustig
Title “Home Of The Heroes”