New Skokie Art Exhibit Showcases Work of First Responders | Chicago News


There’s a famous quote from Fred Rogers – when he saw scary things on the news as a kid, his mother told him, “Seek the helpers.” You will always find people who will help you.

An art exhibit titled “Courage…” adds a visual element to Mr. Rogers’ advice – and the artwork is made by the assistants.

“I was looking for a creative type of display to commemorate the two-year shutdown. And rather than focusing on the shutdown itself, I wanted to focus more on the people who responded and helped,” said Debra Hatchett of ‘Anatomically Correct Arts.

The small but mighty exhibit comes from Anatomically Correct, a gallery that brings art to public spaces — in this case, a busy cultural center in Skokie.

Works can be realistic, conceptual or documentary. They include a photo taken in Ukraine in 2014 during Russian hostilities and a digital artwork of a police officer from Skokie who was a cadet at the Illinois Police Academy on September 11, 2001.

The piece titled “And They Rushed Into Terror” incorporates paramedics, firefighters and police, said Skokie Police Officer Patrick Panizo.

“They rushed [ground zero] and saved so many lives, and unfortunately for so many first responders, it was their last act of courage,” Panzio said.

Other works of art pay tribute to frontline workers who have died during the pandemic. Their portraits were painted by a retired doctor who also commemorated the lives lost to COVID-19 at a convent in Michigan.

“I painted for my dedication to these people who work tirelessly every day wearing PPE, for long hours,” said retired radiologist Dr. Kuhn Hong. “We’ve all been through a tough time, but especially for healthcare workers at this time, we really sacrificed their lives and even they died. Last October, more than 100,000 doctors and nurses died from the COVID virus worldwide. »

Veterans also had a say in the creation of the exhibit.

“This first responder thing came about when someone said, ‘I have a nephew and he’s a first responder and he has to draw, has to draw. And so we made a website for him and that’s what he became,” said Jerry Kykisz, a Vietnam veteran and artist. “It’s the first time I’ve seen some of the artists and their work and it’s interesting. I’m glad we had the opportunity to do that.

For many artists, their creativity is therapeutic.

Obviously my job can get quite stressful at times, but that’s long after I get home and settle in to start drawing,” Panzio said. “It relaxes me a lot and kind of makes me forget about everything else.”

Hatchett said that after 30 years of exhibits, artists often drop off their work and ask when to pick it up.

“Each of these artists wanted to stay and help me put on this show,” Hatchett said. “It’s in their blood. That’s what they do. These are aids.

The exhibition is called ‘Courage…’ Devonshire Cultural Centre, 4400 Greenwood St. in Skokie, until April 3.


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