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'Together We Rise' Valley mural honors heroes of COVID-19 pandemic

Phoenix mural honors frontline workers
Posted at 3:34 PM, Mar 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-16 18:36:32-04

PHOENIX — Inspired by the work and sacrifice made by men and women across our state, Valley artist Hugo Medina wanted to commemorate their impact the only way he knew how.

"They’re on the frontlines fighting it and we are here letting them," said Medina. "The least we can do is help them and support them as much as we can.”

Medina's known for erecting several well-known murals across the downtown Phoenix area, including the popular mural honoring many historic men and women at First Studio off 1st Avenue and Roosevelt Street.

This year, Medina says he was inspired by images of frontline and essential workers who continued to work through the pandemic.

One particular image captured his attention, a photo of Valley ICU Nurse Lauren Leander, outside the Arizona State Capitol in April 2020, as protesters demanded businesses re-open at what was the height of the spread of COVID-19 around the state.

“The pictures that were taken out of that whole incident were just so intense," said Medina. "These people are sacrificing their livelihoods, their lives and their family to help us."

Leander is featured prominently in Medina's latest piece, as the face of Valley healthcare heroes who worked tirelessly to care for those battling COVID-19.

The mural is now on display just blocks away from Banner University Medical Center, where Leander works. You can see his latest piece now displayed prominently on the west side of Ace Uniforms building off 15th Street and McDowell Road.

The piece also features nurses, doctors, cooks, postal workers, firefighters, police officers and teachers. Medina says it is a way of showing his gratitude to the men and women that many Arizonans continued to rely on thorough the last year.

“We were discussing how fortunate we were with everything going down, the kids were safe that we were safe," added Medina. "We wanted to thank them and honor them.”