Healthcare Heroes Celebrated with Handpainted Sign Outside St. Luke’s

Duluth Street Art Initiative Made a 4-ft by 8-ft sign in front of the St Luke's Clinic on East First Street.

DULUTH, Minn.- Healthcare workers looking out the windows of the buildings on the St. Luke’s Campus will now be treated to a big sign reading “Thank You Frontline Heroes,” put together by local artists and local officials.

“When they’re laying down that kind of sacrifice, I think it’s important for them to know we’re here, and we care,” said Minnesota Sixth District Judge Shaun Floerke.

Artists with the Duluth Street Art Initiative and the nonprofit’s creator, Floerke, were looking for a way to give back those on the frontlines fighting the Coronavirus pandemic.

“I think we’re all trying to figure out how to be helpful, right?” he said. “You’re stuck at home, how do you be helpful?”

So the artists got to work, painting and constructing the 4-ft by 8-ft sign. Three healthcare workers are painted on the sign from St. Luke’s, St. Mary’s and Essentia. “It felt really good to work on a project that was for others,” Michelle Misgen said.

The process took them two weeks, on top of their normal jobs. But nowadays time, and art, are abundant.

“Everybody’s got time inside right now,” said fellow artist Sean Moore. “And just, on our walks we’ve seen a lot of folks putting some beautiful sidewalk art up just saying ‘thank you,’ and we’re in this together. So just having that time.”

The Duluth Street Art Initiative is also making 6-in by 6-in tiles for local essential businesses to display.

Floerke and his two sons helped install the completed sign in front of St. Luke’s SLH Clinic Building on East First Street.

While thanking frontline workers, Judge Floerke hopes it also makes people think about the effects of the pandemic. “A lot of the discussion right now is about ‘oh, we want to go back, we need to all be out.’ And these guys are the ones who pay the price if we do that. With the work and the care and the overload,” he said.

Painters of the sign wish it becomes a glimmer of hope for anyone who sees it.

“Right now in this time of uncertainty, it brings a lot of darkness to our days,” said Misgen. “So I think thoroughout it’s a way to bring color and some cheer, and a way to bring people together.

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