The Connecticut Society of Portrait Artists Proudly Presents
Faces of Pandemic Front Lines
2020 Hero Gallery
Images of completed portraits appear as received.  Click to enlarge. 
All images copyright of artists.

Storefront display begins June 19 
at 172 Bedford Street, Stamford, CT 
sponsored by Stamford Downtown

FPFL website

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#1 Kerri Conklin Burghardt 
by Jeanine Careri Jackson
 #2  Joe Dinova 
by Shawna Lee Kwashnak
 #3 Earl Gillette 
by Cynthia Gillette
 #4  Peter Stahl, MD 
by Nancy Malkin Stember
About Our Heroes :

#1 Kerri Conklin Burghardt   "Nurse Kerri" by Jeanine Careri Jackson - 
Kerri is a close personal friend of the artist, a single mom, and a Registered Nurse who contracted COVID19. Her brave story was featured in The Patch newspaper: 

#2 Joe Dinova by Shawna Lee Kwashnak
Middlebury CT's own Joe Dinova is from Four Corner's Grocery store. The reference photographs were taken by the talented Sarah Kwashnak while Joe brought our groceries out of the store during the Corona Virus Lockdown on April 24th 2020. Joe, a third generation grocer, persevered by keeping his store open (after the initial lockdown shock), kept all his employees safe and on the payroll, provided fresh groceries to townsfolk (including the elusive Toilet Paper!). This historical moment epitomizes the Frontline of the Covid-19 worldwide pandemic. 

#3 Earl Gillette "The Volunteer Firefighter" by Cynthia Gillette
This portrait represents my husband - a local volunteer firefighter - and all firefighters who volunteer their time unselfishly when needed during dinners, nights, and in situations that may present personal risk. Earl, a retired 767 pilot, has responded to 227 callouts in the past 11 months and was named as the Woodbury Volunteer Fire Dept. 2019 Responder of the Year.

#4 Peter Stahl, MD by Nancy Malkin Stember
This portrait is of my son-in-law - one of the many dedicated doctors in the NYC hospital system.

#5 Ashley French,  by Christine McBryan
Ashley French is a cardiology nurse practitioner at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City. She was called to work on the COVID floor. Ashley had to stay in a hotel so she could recover from the virus and quarantine from her fiance. She was supposed
to get married this June but had to reschedule her wedding to May 2021. Ashley is one of the many essential workers showing up to help the people affected by Covid19.

#6 Ken Chichester by Bridget Eileen Grady
I chose Ken Chichester for a variety of reasons that are too numerous to describe in a short paragraph. He is currently the retiring Principle at Northwestern Region 7 High School where I am employed as Art faculty. Ken was formally a science faculty at Northwestern and served his town of Barkhamsted as a volunteer E.M.T. He was very often a first responder in our own school community. He made people feel safe and respected. He has been a thoughtful and compassionate leader throughout this COVID Pandemic, particularly to our students and faculty. Ken has been supportive to the frontline workers and families of those in our district in many ways. He has been key in organizing and facilitating getting masks made for our area healthcare workers. During the first week of shutdown he was at the school emptying the building of any PPE that could be donated to our local frontline needs. He has checked in on our students who have had a difficult time with this traumatic situation and generally, as he always does, lends a hand to those who need help. This is but a small fraction of what he has been humbly doing behind the scenes. He will be greatly missed. We are grateful he has stayed on to help the next administration negotiate this strange and trying new landscape.

#7 Genevieve Anne Ruppel by Joyce Zeller Endick
This portrait is titled: "Resilience (Hope for the Future)" Genevieve Anne Ruppel is a Clinical II Trauma Certified Emergency Room Nurse. She had been working at Pennsylvania Hospital in Philadelphia ER for the past six years.

#8 Stephanny Garcia by Colleen Hains
Stephanny is part of a dedicated team of pharmacists dispensing prescriptions to those in need.

#9 Evelyn Atkin Dahm "Stitching Life Together" by Linda Stewart Champanier
Evelyn has been busy on the sewing machine making masks for Yale New Haven Hospital ans St. Raphael's Hospital in New Haven, CT. Evelyn is a great seamstress, and her work is appreciated by the workers for helping to keep them safe with fashionable masks in beautiful colors.

#10 Wing Ye Wong by Wing Na Wong 
Wing Yee Wong is an MRI Technologist who works at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. She is dedicated to her community and have been fulfilling her responsibilities before and during the pandemic. 

#11 Allison Raich, PharmaD by Julia Ambrose Murphy
Allison is a pharmacy supervisor in a Long Island hospital and has has a lot of harrowing experiences with COVID19 in the course of her work.

#12 Yidah Cooper "A Brave Nurse in the Heat of Battle"by Ed Salazar
 This is a friend of mine in Fort Worth, TX who is a professional nurse and bravely goes to work day after day to help COVID-19 victims. She sees firsthand how difficult it is for family members of infected individuals not to be able to enter into the hospital rooms while their ill relatives are being checked or treated for the virus. So she does her utmost to be loving, caring and to provide as much comfort as possible to each patient in order to make up for their already tense and grievous situation.

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​Four selected Northwestern Regional 7 High School Seniors share portraits, stories about their heroes, and what life for them has been like during this pandemic.
Portrait Title: Nicole 
​My subject is Nicole Lodovico. Nicole and I are not the closest of friends, but over the last year working alongside her as a student council officer I have come to know her as a kind and enthusiastic person with an outgoing personality that makes her well-loved in our class. During the pandemic, she continued working her job at a grocery store. Months ago, when the action against the pandemic was just beginning, I remember her telling us about having to wear gloves and masks at work as the anxiety rose and her shifts grew longer. Nicole has also worked to ease the disappointment of her fellow graduating seniors by editing a video for National Decision Day, an exciting part of senior year that we missed due to the pandemic.

About school:
The impact of the coronavirus on my senior year of high school has been massive and often difficult to cope with. The knowledge that I will never see my classmates in the hallways or wave hello to my teachers again has been hard to process. Not being able to perform my final show with the theater program was one of the biggest punches to the gut. However, I have tried to remember that everything that has happened is for the best, and there's ultimately nothing I can do to change it. I'm grateful to have the support of friends, family, and teachers, which I know many people are lacking in this time. Despite everything, at the end of the day, I know I'm one of the lucky ones. 

Kim Keegan is one of the most magnificent, caring, and selfless people I have ever met. She is a crucial member of the brilliant team of nurses at Hartford Hospital, helping to save the lives of many. Her glow of compassion does not cease with the end of the workday, as she is also the patient and hardworking single mother of 4. She has a deep understanding of her patients and their personal importance, as she has battled Lyme Disease and leukemia within her only family. Kim sees the impact this can have on families and pours the same care into her patients as if they were her own children. 

Quarantine and online school has been full of difficulties and growth. Through having virtually none, I have come to realize the huge importance of human contact and connection. I am now missing things that I previously took for granted...yes, that includes school, and it makes me realize just how good our life here on earth really is. Although the situation is not ideal, the free time Covid 19 has so graciously granted us has given me the opportunity to work on myself and the things I am passionate about, including my artwork. Never before have I had the opportunity to spend so much time brainstorming and creating without the distraction of stress drawing me away. I am so thankful for this opportunity to show my appreciation for the front line workers who are risking their own well-being in attempt to combat this heartbreaking and difficult disease. I, like many, hope for this crisis to resolve as soon and safely as possible, so the hardships can become part of the past, but I am positive that the effort and care of the brave workers will never be forgotten. 

Amy Koch by CLARA KOCH
Portrait Title: Stand Behind Me 
Medium: Acrylic Paint
FPFL Story: 
The front-line hero I'm choosing to paint is my mom, Amy Koch. She had been an EMT for many years before she decided to pursue her dream of becoming an emergency department nurse. She graduated from Northwestern Connecticut Community College as an RN. She now works at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in the Emergency Room and has worked on several COVID-19 units in the hospital.
She also continues to volunteer her time during the pandemic at a local Ambulance Association. In her free time she works towards getting her masters in Nursing Education. Despite the pandemic, she takes
amazing care of me and my sister as a single parent. She goes to work everyday and continues to take care of people who are suffering. I am painting her because she is the bravest person I know.

Elizabeth Marek by CAROLYN MAREK
Portrait Title: Care for Me 
FPFL Story:
My front-line hero is my mother, Elizabeth Marek. Everyday she goes out into this uncertain world. All of her
life she has been an educator and passionate about helping children. She works at an early childhood education school, and continues to after the Governor of Connecticut deemed childcare centers as essential, and even went as far as saying that childcare is the backbone of getting through this pandemic. Without care of their children, healthcare workers, first responders, and needed workers would not be able to fight the pandemic.This past year I lost my father, and my mother is my anchor. I know my mother has anxiety about the severity of this virus, and the possibility of contracting it, and about me if she did not
survive it. I love my mother more than anything else in the world, and although I fear for her everyday, I know that it is necessary that she goes to work to help others.

“Big Kev”, or more commonly known as Kevin Harwood, is the father of one of my very close friends. Typically an ER nurse; he was one of the first people to take care of Covid-19 patients at Charlotte Hungerford. He has quite the family with six children to take care of on top of being a nurse during these troubling times. My heart goes out to him and his strong will and passion to help people whether it be family or patients. 

School has been an interesting experience due to Covid-19. Online school is a completely different experience than in class. Online, It is a lot less teaching and a lot more filler activities. It is hard to teach yourself online; and almost impossible to socialize with peers. Which is very important to do face-to-face these days. It is difficult to learn art online, so you have to have a lot of trust in your ability to draw without the eye of another person to help. It is definitely a learning experience.

June 14* - July 2, 2020
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 #5  Ashley French 
by Christine McBryan
 #6 Ken Chichester  
by Bridget Eileen Grady
 #7 Genevieve Anne Ruppel by Joyce Zeller Endick
 #8 Stephanny Garcia
by Colleen Hains
 #9 Evelyn Atkin Dahm
by Linda Stewart Champanier
 #10 Wing Yee Wong
by Wing Na Wong
 #11 Allison Raich, PharmaD
 by Julia Ambrose Murphy
 #12 Yidah Cooper
by Ed Salazar
Images of completed portraits appear as received. Click to enlarge. 
All images copyright of artists.

Storefront display beginning June 19 at 172 Bedford Street, Stamford, CT sponsored by Stamford Downtown

FPFL website