‘The Hero Art Project' to Honor Fallen NYC Healthcare Workers Amid COVID

A recent digital exhibition, The Hero Art Project, honors healthcare workers who have died while battling the COVID pandemic.

The Hero Art Project

In honor of fallen healthcare workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, a special event will be held on Wednesday at New York City's Big Screen Plaza with artist portraits featuring the lives lost.

Located off 6th Ave. and W 30th St., the event begins at 5:00 P.M. and is hosted by ARTHOUSE.NYC, a digital gallery and international art collective. The Hero Art Project is an exhibition showcasing artist illustrations of physicians, nurses, physician assistants, nursing assistants and emergency medical technicians who died during the pandemic.

Susannah Perlman is the curator for the series, which first started in the summer of 2020 in response to the lockdown and lack of proper funerals at the time.

While the exhibit first launched two years ago at the Big Screen Plaza, these digital portraits and personal stories have been posted on billboards nationwide in major cities like Miami and Las Vegas.

Perlman is no stranger to the feeling of losing a loved one during the pandemic. Her mother, Marla Perlman, was a volunteer coordinator at a state hospital in Pa. and died in December 2021.

"It was sort of this last wave with omicron that she was diagnosed, went into the hospital, got the infusion, and then she came home in a couple of days because she didn't have any symptoms, but then within three days, she passed," Perlman told NBC New York during an interview.

To this date, over 100 healthcare workers are featured in this art project, which partnered with The Brave of Heart Fund exhibiting in the windows of the iconic New York Life Building. 

LinkNYC and the New York Life Building donated space on kiosks and boards to display the project.

According to a study by The Guardian and Kaiser Health News, close to 4,000 healthcare workers have died due to COVID-19. The World Health Organization estimates that up to 180,000 workers could have died from coronavirus between January 2020 and May 2021.

Perlman hopes to connect with more families to highlight as many healthcare professionals as possible.

"One of our lofty goals is to do an exhibit on the Washington [National] Mall. Move a lot larger and kind of embody a space because it is up there with everything else we struggle with that gets honored on the mall, so I feel that it would be fitting," said Perlman.

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