The History of the Gratitude Project

The Gratitude Project is an exhibition of works by members of the Arizona Art Alliance and gifted to Health Care Facilities as a way to thank the Health Care Workers for their commitment and sacrifices during the Covid Pandemic. This project honors and acknowledges the hard work and sacrifice by every nurse, doctor and staff member in the face of an unprecedented healthcare event. They are the heroes and heroines of this unprecedented time.

A gift of an original work of art by an artist can provide healing for the viewer. It is our hope that each viewer will be reminded of their contribution during this time and feel appreciated through the gift of art.

To date we have recived over 500 six-inch by six-inch paintings that were created and donated by member artists on the theme of florals and botanicals. The theme was chosen as it is customary to say thank you through the gift of flowers. The florals vary from realistic renditions to abstract interpretations. Materials vary from watercolor, colored pencil, oil, acrylic, collage and mixed media. The paintings were created by members of the Arizona Art Alliance’s member arts organizations: Arizona Artists Guild, Arizona Watercolor Association, Ground Floor Artists, Mesa Art League, Mountain Artists Guild, Phoenix Artists Guild, Scottsdale Artists League, Sonoran Arts League, Tempe Artists Guild, Vanguard Artists, Westbrook Village Fine Arts Association, and WHAM (What’s Happening Art Movement).

The Gratitude Project was the idea of AzAA secretary Lisa Wayman, RN, PhD, who works in healthcare. Lisa experienced firsthand how the strain of Covid19 Pandemic impacted the healthcare providers and the personal risks taken every time they interacted with a patient. The lack of PPE exacerbated the risk. Many healthcare providers died due to Covid19, and many others suffered tremendously when they succumbed to the illness themselves for weeks and sometimes months. They bore witness to the suffering of patients and family members and often were surrogates for family who did not have access to their loved ones in their final moments. The strain on the healthcare providers is immense: Overworked, insufficient resources, risk to family members and personal risk add up to personal and professional hardship. The pandemic continues to test their physical and mental resillience day by day.

Many  deaths could have been prevented. As Dr. Fauci stated: “Widespread shortages of masks and other personal protective gear, a lack of Covid testing, weak contact tracing, inconsistent mask guidance by politicians, missteps by employers and lax enforcement of workplace safety rules by government regulators all contributed to the increased risk faced by healthcare workers.”

The Covid deaths of so many are a reflection of what health care workers have experienced historically.  They put themselves in harm’s way by embodying the oath they took when they became physicians and nurses.

The Gratitude Project honors and acknowledges the hard work and sacrifice by every nurse, doctor and staff member in the face of an unprecedented healthcare event.