'I'm right here still.' St. Elizabeth, ArtWorks unveil mural honoring health care workers

·2 min read
St. Elizabeth Healthcare and ArtWorks collaborated on a mural in Newport to honor health care workers.
St. Elizabeth Healthcare and ArtWorks collaborated on a mural in Newport to honor health care workers.

NEWPORT, Ky. – When Teresa Cecil first heard about COVID-19, she braced herself for the call to come help as a member of St. Elizabeth Healthcare's infectious disease response team.

Cecil, who is the director of environmental services at St. Elizabeth, did get the call. She raced home and quickly packed a bag in case she needed to move into the hospital.

Twenty months later, St. Elizabeth is still treating COVID-19 patients.

St. Elizabeth and ArtWorks wanted to do something to honor the health care workers and also celebrate St. Elizabeth's 160th anniversary. They joined together to create a mural, which was put up in Newport on the Levee near the Taylor Southgate Bridge. BLDG, a Covington-based studio, designed it, and it was completed about three weeks ago.

The mural, which was designed in a comic-book style, features a health care worker wearing a mask saying "I'm right here." A speech bubble in the corner says "Thank you." "The healthcare heroes save the day," the image says at the top.

Lee Ann Ernst, a nurse at St. Elizabeth and coordinator of the infectious disease response team; and Teresa Cecil, director of environmental services, stand in front of a new mural in Newport honoring health care workers.
Lee Ann Ernst, a nurse at St. Elizabeth and coordinator of the infectious disease response team; and Teresa Cecil, director of environmental services, stand in front of a new mural in Newport honoring health care workers.

Evan Hildebrandt served as the lead teaching artist on the project and worked with a team of six apprentices to paint the mural. The artists are all employed by ArtWorks, and this is one of the largest murals the company has created, said Colleen Houston, CEO and artistic director.

"Health care workers help us in our most vulnerable moments, and so even before the last two years, before what happened, I think we needed something to honor them, ..." Hildebrandt said. "I think to have done a mural like this to honor people that help us in our most vulnerable moments is definitely an honor."

Lee Ann Ernst, a nurse at St. Elizabeth and the coordinator of the IDRT, said she was humbled to see the finished mural.

"I love it. I love the passion in her eyes," she said.

"It might be 20 months later, and we might be tired, but don't worry, I'm right here still," Ernst said, quoting the phrase on the image.

Northern Kentucky reporter Rachel Berry can be reached at rberry@enquirer.com. Follow her on Twitter @racheldberry.

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Newport mural honors healthcare workers' contributions during pandemic

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