The Art of Appreciation: Fairfield Student Paints Public Tribute to Conn. Health Care Workers

The Art of Appreciation: Fairfield Student Paints Public Tribute to Conn. Health Care Workers

Kevin Kryzwick's public mural features an American flag, a healthcare worker wearing a mask, and a thank you message, painted on rock in Burlington, Conn.

The uplifting mural, designed by honors student Kevin Kryzwick ’21, is receiving an outpouring of support and national attention.

“I wanted to show my gratitude in a way that would be present for health care workers to see on a regular basis... I think it is important for them to know how much we appreciate what they do.”

— Kevin Kryzwick '21

When his study abroad program in Italy was cut short by the coronavirus pandemic, Fairfield University honors student Kevin Kryzwick ’21 packed his suitcase to return to his hometown in Burlington, Connecticut. As weeks passed, the finance and marketing major watched as the number of U.S. cases began to surpass those of the country he had left just a month prior, and he started searching for a way to show his support for the countless health care workers serving on the frontlines.

“I wanted to show my gratitude in a way that would be present for health care workers to see on a regular basis, especially when many of us are staying home to stop the spread,” Kryzwick explained. “I think it is important for them to know how much we appreciate what they do.”

Armed with some spray paint and an artistic vision, the film, television, and media arts minor set out to accomplish his goal by creating a piece of public art for his entire town to see. With the help of two friends, including fellow Fairfield University student Kiley Hallet ’21, Kryzwick painted a colorful mural on a large rock alongside Case Road and Punch Brook Road in Burlington, featuring an American flag, a health care worker, and a heartfelt thank you message. From start to finish, the project took the trio nearly two hours to create and now stands as a permanent tribute to the courageous men and women saving lives on the front lines of the health crisis. 

The reality of the pandemic is particularly significant for Kryzwick; his sister, an alumna of Fairfield University's Marion Peckham Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies, Tory Kryzwick ’18, is a nurse at Greenwich Hospital and recently tested positive for Covid-19.

“She was literally right on the front lines in the ED,” Kryzwick explained. “Thankfully, her symptoms were mild. She is still recovering but hopes to go back to work once she tests negative for the virus. I am extremely proud of her and her fellow colleagues, who were definitely inspirations for this project.” 

Kryzwick said the community's response to his mural has been overwhelmingly positive and has even garnered the attention of some local news affiliates. In addition to being featured on a recent NBC Connecticut news broadcast, he was interviewed for a forthcoming PBS documentary on the health crisis, and has received multiple requests to paint rocks in other neighborhoods across the state.

"I never thought the project would attract so much attention,” Kryzwick said. “I drive by and see families stopping to take pictures of it. I am thrilled people enjoy it, and I hope it serves as a reminder that heroes wear scrubs, instead of capes.” 

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Last modified: 04-22-20 12:00 AM

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