The COVID-19 Mural Project emerged from the idea that art can be used as a form of healing for both the artist and the audience. According to the World Health Organization, the COVID-19 pandemic triggered an increase in the prevalence of anxiety and depression worldwide, with young individuals being affected significantly. We collaborated with the Yellowstone Art Museum (YAM) Teens and local artist, Terri Porta, to design and paint the mural. The involvement of the teens helped them process their emotions and thoughts about the pandemic in a different way and, hopefully, start to heal. The placement of the mural downtown will give the community a more permanent space to remember those who were lost during the pandemic as well as help community members reflect on their own experiences while serving as a marker of this shared historic time.
The teens spent four weeks developing and workshopping the draft of the mural. The final design (shown below) depicts "Letters to Heaven" written by the teens to commemorate those that they personally lost as well as others within the community. The painting of the mural began the first week of July 2022. The mural is located in downtown Billings on the wall of Lisa's Sandwich Den in the alley (2908 1st Ave N).