If you drive around Washington County, then you may see bright signs outside of hospitals saying, "Heroes work here."
Local artist Elizabeth Higgins is hoping to bring that same message inside — directly to frontline workers at Tuality Community Hospital in Hillsboro. Higgins created handmade watercolor "Shine On" cards for emergency room and critical care workers coming off shift.
To avoid production delays, the artist carved out a custom-made rubber stamp, so each card looks like an individual painting.
"Each one is like a real piece of art," Higgins explained. "This way, people can support me as an artist, but then give this nice and thoughtful gift of a handwritten note on a handmade card to somebody who's working really hard these days."
Higgins didn't get the idea all on her own.
Cindy Cosenzo, owner of Hillsboro-based consulting business Age Celebration, said she remembered seeing Higgins' art before the pandemic and immediately thought it would be perfect as a way to reach out to people on the front lines of the outbreak.
"We have so many beautiful people and so many beautiful artists in Hillsboro," said Cosenzo. "Elizabeth is just one of them but has such a shining light."
People can buy four cards for $15 on Higgins' Etsy website, write a note inside and follow special instructions to mail them to critical care workers.
So far, 80 colorful cards have been sold, said Cosenzo. She held back tears as she described people's generosity.
Cosenzo and Higgins did their best to be sure the cards are affordable for those willing to help during economic uncertainty, she added.
As for Tuality, hospital officials are happy to see support for healthcare providers.
"The outpouring of the community has made our healthcare workers know that they are appreciated, and people are looking at them as the true heroes that they are," said OHSU Tuality Healthcare Foundation manager Maria McCandless.
The "Shine On" cards are sent to specific departments and then handed out by nurse managers, said McCandless.
She hopes people continue to support frontline workers and artists in the area.
"That's a true testament of people caring about their community," added McCandless.
Despite losing income to the virus, Higgins said the project has made her feel proud of the community she lives in.
"I've been really pleasantly surprised by the number of people who have bought card packs or working on them," she said. "It makes me happy to live in this community and just reinforces my love of living in a community that supports the arts, but also just the caring and the friendship."
To purchase "Shine On" cards for healthcare workers, visit etsy.com/shop/WaterColorWheel, then click on "SHINE15 Greeting Cards."
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