July 29, 2020

Artist paints 1,800 flowers to show gratitude for each employee at a Brooklyn hospital
Using paint and a syringe, Michael Gittes found a way to express his appreciation for the medical workers fighting the Coronavirus. The Los Angeles artist decided he wanted to give paintings to the employees of a hospital that had been hit especially hard by COVID-19, and selected Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn. He chose flowers as his subject because "even though these people are all part of a big, beautiful garden, I wanted them to know they were all individual flowers, and without them, there would be no garden," he told The Washington Post. Gittes used a syringe to drip the paint because it is "a symbol of healing." Interfaith Medical Center has 1,800 employees, and it took Gittes more than three months to complete the project. The paintings were distributed on July 13, with everyone — nurses, custodians, security guards, doctors, administrators, and cafeteria workers — receiving their own work of art. Account representative Sheila Arthur-Smith was hospitalized with COVID-19 in March, and on the day she was able to go home, her sister died of the virus. "I see Michael's painting as a memorial to my sister, and I'll never forget that he created this for me from his heart," she told the Post. "It's incredible to me that he took the time to paint so many portraits and show that the work we have done is not in vain and that we're loved. It's a phenomenal gift."

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