Experience colorful portaits of frontline workers in College Station

The Arts Council of Brazos Valley is hosting the exhibit "Heroes of COVID."
Taking a look at the Heroes of COVID Art exhibit at the Art Council of the Brazos Valley
Taking a look at the Heroes of COVID Art exhibit at the Art Council of the Brazos Valley
Published: Aug. 5, 2020 at 1:51 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 5, 2020 at 1:52 PM CDT
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas (KBTX) -Colorful portraits of frontline workers expressing strength, emotion, comfort, and resilience line the gallery lobby of The Arts Council of Brazos Valley in College Station.

Each portrait is an actual frontline worker from the Brazos Valley Community and beyond reaching all the way to heroes battling the pandemic in New York.

”One of my favorite things about what they have done is that they didn’t just do doctors and nurses,” said Sarah Wilkinson, The Arts Council of Brazos Valley President. “They really took the time to do portraits of other front line workers. There is a vet, there is a respiratory therapist, and so it really hits home how many people it takes to do something like this.”

The creation of these portraits started with sidewalk chalk as a way for “Heroes of COVID” artist Kristi Nelson to show her appreciation for nurses.

“It started out in my neighborhood actually,” said “Heroes of COVID” artist Kristi Nelson. “I was outside with my kids. I have three kids ages five and under and we do a lot of sidewalk chalk. So I drew a picture of a nurse. I drew her with chalk pastel, and I said ‘thankful for these superheroes above it.‘”

But what Nelson didn’t know at the time was that this chalk drawing would go viral and lead her to creating over seventy portraits of frontline workers.

They are still fighting this battle, let’s all our part in honoring heroes and making their days a little brighter! #art #covid19 #texasmedicalcenter

Posted by Kristi Nelson Sketches on Wednesday, August 5, 2020

“A nurse from MD Anderson posted the art and said it just brought her to tears and it made her feel that she was right where she needed to be and that she felt really appreciated,” said Nelson. “After that, I just felt the need to keep going, so I drew an actual portrait of my next-door neighbor and gave it as a gift, so whenever she came home from working on the COVID unit, it made her really happy.”

The impact of Nelson’s portraits reached a few hours north to B/CS to a College Station nurse and artist, Amanda Dominguez.

“I was scrolling through Facebook and one of our mutual friends had posted a portrait of her, and so I commented on it and my friend Jennifer said ‘Yes, you should do this,” said “Heroes of COVID” artist Amanda Dominguez. “And Kristi was like ‘yes, you should join me in this journey of showing the heroic artwork of our COVID nurses and healthcare workers.‘”

From that point forward she began creating.

When talking about her version of the portraits, Dominguez says she was influenced by the storylines of superhero stories. Next to each of her portraits of a frontline worker in a mask, you also see a photo of them in their street clothes, which Dominguez calls the unmasking and true identity part of their superhero identity.

For Dominguez, these portraits hit home as she is a Wound, Ostomy, and Continence Nurse at Baylor Scott & White Medical Center.

The “Heroes of COVID” exhibit will be on display until Sep. 30 at The Arts Council of Brazos Valley. They are open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Kristi Nelson has also created a book called Masked Heroes: A Tribute to the Frontline Workers of COVID-19, which displays the portraits Nelson has created of the frontline workers and tells their stories.

She will be doing a book signing at The Arts Council on Monday, Aug. 15 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Her book, Masked Heroes: A Tribute to the Frontline Workers of COVID-19, can also be purchased, here.

The Arts Council is located at 4180 Highway 6 South in College Station. Click here for more information on The Arts Council.

Submissions for portraits can be made at Amanda Dominguez’s page here or at Kristi’s page, here.

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