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FIDM Instructor is Painting Portraits of Medical Professionals During 100-Day Art Challenge

FIDM Instructor is Painting Portraits of Medical Professionals During 100-Day Art Challenge

General Studies and Theatre Costume Design Instructor Joan Willgues a.k.a. “Joanie Coyote” is honoring and supporting healthcare workers during the outbreak of COVID-19 by painting individual portraits of them during a 100-day art challenge. She’s posting these inspiring artworks on Instagram @joaniecoyoteart to recognize the medical professionals who are currently on the front lines.

Her first painting was of a college friend who is a nurse. She then reached out to doctors she found via the media and later looked up #erdoctor on Instagram and began messaging random people. “I am being very bold,” she said. “One of the doctors was very generous in sharing her painting and spread the word that I was looking for participants and I got more that way.” By asking people to share her art challenge with friends the list is slowly growing. 

Once she’s made contact, Joan asks medical professionals to message her their name, position, a face photo, and a very brief message they would like to give people. Rather than painting them in masks and goggles, she asks that workers show their full face in the pictures they send. “I want to celebrate them outside of the anonymity of the hospital gear,” she explained.

So far, the feedback from the medical community has been “amazing.” Joan said one doctor described her project as “the intersection of art and medicine.” To create the portraits, Joan draws by hand and then paints with gouache and writes the words in marker. She said she’d love to exhibit the paintings once it’s safe to do so. 

“I feel very lucky to be able to stay home and keep safe,” said Joan, a veteran costume designer who has taught at FIDM for 12 years. “These guys are putting themselves in harm’s way every day. That’s why at the end of my posts I write: ‘Thank you for your service.’ ” 

See more of Joan’s portraits on Instagram @joaniecoyoteart.

Categories:  General Studies Theatre Costume Design Faculty