Frontline and Essential Workers Face the Beast exhibit is currently on view at the American Labor Museum. The exhibit features paintings of frontline and essential workers by New York contemporary artist Steve Derrick. Mr. Derrick used photos of frontline workers posted on social media to paint portraits. He sent the completed portraits to the workers he portrayed as a way to thank them for their labor during these trying times.
Millions of men and women worldwide are part of the essential workforce on the frontline of the COVID19 pandemic.
This program is made possible in part by a grant administered by the Passaic County Cultural and Heritage Council from funds granted by the New Jersey State Council on the Arts.
Frontline and Essential Workers Face the Beast is on view at the Museum through Saturday, August 21st, 2021. The Museum is open to on-site visitors Wed.-Sat. 1-4PM and by appointment. Virtual (ZOOM) tours are available by appointment. For further information, please call the Museum at (973) 595-7953 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about frontline and essential workers: Frontline: Stories of Courage and Struggle in America's Darkest Days by Emily Gioberti (April 2021) Ms. Gioberti joined the Museum during the Spring 2021 semester as a Public History Intern. She is completing her bachelors degree at Rutgers University.
About her project, Emily Gioberti writes: "Over the past few months, I have been given the opportunity to create a multi-page virtual exhibit both historically accurate and increasingly relevant. It started as a simple comparison between workers dirung the spanish flu in 1918 and workers today, fighting the worst pandemic of my lifetime. My goal was to discover if America had learned anything from how we handled the flu of 1918. Along the way, I uncovered labor unions that have stood up for the rights of their members to work in safe conditions, startling disparities in how racial/ethnic minorities receive care during an outbreak and the surprising ways Americans have adapted in times of crisis to better serve the needs of their communities. By the end of my project, I found that results were mixed. While we learned better sanitation and economic protections for individuals, we still have yet to learn the importance of approacing pandemics not through kind yet empty praise for frontline workers but instead in a collaborative manner that puts the physical and mental health of workers first. Only when every community member is part of the fight against the virus, and respected for their role, can the country survive its darkest days."