Collaborative effort under way to create COVID remembrance

Press Staff Writer

        ProMedica is collaborating with the Arts Commission of Greater Toledo to commission two local artists from Graphite Design and Build to create a public COVID-19 remembrance sculpture. The sculpture, designed by Jeremy Link and Douglas Kampfer, will be titled, “Breathe.”
        “Breathe” will pay tribute to all front-line health care workers who fought and sacrificed to protect the public during an unprecedented pandemic.
        “In the face of uncertainty and challenges over the past year, health care professionals, support staff and many others across our region stepped up in a major way,” said Randy Oostra, president and CEO of ProMedica. “As we look to a brighter future beyond the pandemic, we need to heal while continuing to embrace the important lessons learned. Since art plays a powerful role in healing, we are excited to partner on a COVID-19 remembrance sculpture for our community.”
        The sculpture will offer a place of remembrance for the lives lost to COVID-19 and all of those deeply affected by the pandemic. For the general public, the sculpture will provide a point of reflection with symbolism that represents the strong connection to breath, the changes in human group interactions, the need for proper social distancing, and the power of people working together during the pandemic.
        Since the Metroparks offered extraordinary refuge to many throughout the pandemic, it is fitting that “Breathe” continues that important connection.
        “At times during the last year, Metroparks were among the few places we could safely go to relax and unwind,” said Dave Zenk, executive director of Metroparks Toledo. “We talk about the importance of the outdoors for our mental and physical well-being, but it was never more apparent than it was in 2020, when we saw a record 6 million visits to our 19 Metroparks.”
        The sizable circular sculpture (proposed to be approximately 48’ across) is expected to be a permanent art installation in a Metroparks Toledo area along the banks of the Maumee River near downtown. A more specific location will be confirmed at a later date.
        Installation of the “Breathe” sculpture is expected to start later in 2021.
        “Toledo has a rich legacy of public art, founding the first program in Ohio back in 1977. We are honored to work with our partners at ProMedica and the Metroparks to commission local artists to create a public work of art honoring those who have provided care through the pandemic and make a space for commemoration and reflection of this time for generations to come,” said Marc Folk, president and CEO of The Arts Commission.


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