Local artist creates mural to honor pandemic frontline heroes at Duke Health

North Carolina

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — Sean Kernick is not only an artist, but a storyteller.

His recent piece, a large mural entirely spray painted for Duke University Hospital, commemorates the COVID-19 pandemic and the many Duke Health frontline heroes.

“It really was a moment that was unique for me,” Kernick said.

“You know, it was a while ago this started. I want to say probably about a year ago,” said Kernick.

The Duke Arts and Health Department reached out to him to do it. After months of planning and weeks of work, it was finally recently displayed.

“I’ve never been involved in a project where there was so much emotion in the feedback,” Kernick said. “It was strange. Not bad strange. Good, strange. I didn’t anticipate it,” he added.

The mural depicts frontline workers like David Gupton. Gupton works in food services at the hospital.

“When I saw it, I was like, ‘that is outstanding!’ I want to meet the artist because he did an amazing job,” Gupton said.

“To be standing out like that, that gives me a lot of faith in what I do because I love cooking. I want to have my own business and have it up and running by August. But to know that I’m being noticed. It’s rewarding enough,” Gupton added.

The mural is in the north concourse.

Gupton said he is trying to figure out how to a get picture of him from the mural so he can frame it.

“I’m hoping that the artwork we created here does its best that it can do as art to really honor,” Kernick said.

Click here to view Sean Kernick’s portfolio.

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