By SUE SUCHYTA
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTTE – When artists at River’s Edge Gallery sought a way to honor local healthcare workers on the front lines of the pandemic, the result was a movable mural to honor them.
“Home of the Heroes,” a 4-foot-by-6-foot vinyl mural designed to withstand outside elements, will work its way up Biddle Avenue, displayed with different sponsors, until it reaches its final destination inside Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital.
It is currently at Total Health Foods, 2948 Biddle Ave.
River’s Edge Gallery owner Patt Slack said she often hears the sirens of passing ambulances headed for Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital when she is in the gallery, and she wanted to create a visual sign of appreciation for the healthcare workers who drive on Biddle Avenue to work each day.
“Home of the Heroes” developed from that inspiration, becoming the city’s visible “love letter” to its healthcare workers.
Slack tapped Conrad Lustig, 27, of Wyandotte, one of the gallery’s resident artists, to create a design. He then joined forces with artist and gallery director Jeremy Hansen to bring the project to completion.
Hansen sought donations from Allegra Marketing in Wyandotte and Blick Art Materials in Dearborn to create the project.
Other financial assistance was provided by Love Wyandotte, Joe’s Hamburgers, Salon Misha, Willow Tree, Total Health Foods and Chelsea Menswear, which helped pay for the artists’ time and other associated expenses.
The mural, created in a pop art style, uses solid black and white to emulate early silk screens and comic books, while adding vivid splashes of color to honor the bright street art of Detroit.
Hansen has high praise for Lustig’s work.
“Conrad is a young artist, really fresh, and we want to foster his amazing talent,” he said. “We wanted to do something that everyone could enjoy, something really cool. That is how the whole pop art idea came about, and he created this amazing piece.”
Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital President Jennifer Eslinger said the hospital’s team appreciates the generous and moving artwork created to honor them.
“This beautiful work of art signifies the close-knit nature of the Wyandotte community and further strengthens our commitment to continue providing the safest, highest quality care to residents throughout the Downriver area,” Eslinger said. “We are proud to take this art into our care, and will cherish this for years to come.”