Virginia Beach artist paints mural to honor front line workers of the coronavirus pandemic


VIRGINIA BEACH, V.a. (WAVY) — If you walk or drive by 24th Street and Pacific Avenue by the Oceanfront, you’ll see a new mural honoring the people on the front line of the coronavirus pandemic.

“They are heroes who are taking care of people when they don’t have to and they’re doing the right thing anyway,” said Sam Welty, the artist. “They’re putting themselves on the line for the rest of us and this is for them.”

Welty’s 7,000-square-foot mural is on the back of the Blue Marlin Motel and illustrates doctors, nurses, firefighters, police, grocery and delivery workers.

“The world has not been in a situation like what we’re experiencing now with the coronavirus,” he said. “It’s a different kind of war.”

Among the doctors, nurses, grocery store workers and first responders, you’ll find a quote from the beloved television icon, Fred Rogers — or, as many know him, Mr. Rogers.

Welty said the quote reminded him of the people he’s painting.

“He (Mr. Rogers) would ask his mother about all these horrible things happening on the news and she said this to him, ‘look for the helpers. you will always find people helping,'” he said.

Welty said he’s grateful for his artistic team as well as local businesses for their help and generosity.

“The wonderful people at The Franklin Johnston Group are providing support for the project.
The many relationships formed through BNI (Business Network International) have been
invaluable sources of encouragement and guidance,” he said.

He continued: “Sherwin Williams has donated the paint and associated materials, and United Rentals is providing the boom lift to access to the wall’s height. Blue Marlin Hotel and CP Shuckers are providing the enormous canvas and the ability to access it. Ongoing photography of the process is being provided by Shah Moten with Resolution One Imaging, and the beautiful City of Virginia Beach has shown tremendous support for this important statement of gratitude. Thanks to helpers like these, bringing this tribute to life has been an absolute pleasure and a dream fulfilled.”

Welty said he started Saturday and hopes to have the mural complete over the next four to five days.

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