Photo: East End Arts.

Local artists have found a unique way to thank front-line workers at Peconic Bay Medical Center for their tireless work during the pandemic.

Riverhead’s East End Arts has paired off member artists with workers at Peconic Bay Medical Center to create pieces of artwork based on photographs of the recipient’s choosing.

The result has been a colorful variety of portraits, landscapes and illustrations of beloved pets and family members. Six local artists so far have volunteered to participate, creating pieces in oil, charcoal and acrylic. 

The art will be on display in Peconic Bay Medical Center’s lobby until the end of May, after which each piece will be gifted to the front-line worker who requested it. 

The display is also available for virtual viewing at the East End Arts website

The initiative, now known as the Front Line Heroes Program, began in early April, when Darrien Garay, special gift officer at Peconic Bay Medical Center, contacted East End Arts to organize a collaboration. 

“They wanted to get together something for the front-line workers at the hospital that is art-related,” Monique Parsons, East End Arts development and marketing director. “Something that would give them a little distraction from what’s happening.”

Parson, along with other members of East End Arts executive team, began developing a program that would pair an art volunteer with someone working on the front lines of the pandemic.

“This program shows how much the community really cares to come together and tries to give a nice little distraction to the front-line workers,” said Parsons. “It brings smiles to the faces under the masks during this difficult time.”

One local artist, Janet Fink of Riverhead, had heard about the program from Cutchogue artist Gary Long and decided to get involved. 

Fink has experienced first-hand the staff’s dedication at Peconic Bay Medical Center. She recently was treated in the hospital’s cardiac rehabilitation program. 

“I know and respect the whole team of physical therapists and nurses there,” said Fink. “During the pandemic, I thought they might want to think about their happy place.” 

With the program’s success so far, East End Arts now aims to expand the initiative and bring even more artists and hospitals together. 

“It’s a lot of coordination, and the artists that participated in this program are volunteers,” Parsons said. “Going forward, we want to make sure we have enough artists to support the program.”

Local artists may volunteer through application found at the bottom of the virtual art display website.

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Julia-Anna Searson
Julia-Anna is a Riverhead native and a recent graduate of Stony Brook University, with a degree in Biology and minor in Anthropology. She currently lives in Cutchogue.