Fairport artist paints 100 portraits of first responders

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — When the pandemic began in March 2020, a Fairport native got to work. Now, the 100 portrait gallery titled “Portraits of the Frontline” is displayed in the Pittsford Fine Arts Gallery.

Artist Julia Maddalina said she worked to convey the reality of first responders during the worst of the pandemic.

“I love faces, I love capturing moments in time—seeing especially the photography that was coming out at the time. Seeing people with their masks down was so touching, to see a visual representation of these hours that people had been putting in.”

The project began as a request on Twitter in March 2020. Since then, Maddalina has received hundreds of photos from first responders. She said the process of creating the portraits was emotional.

“Being able to record [the first responders] myself, and paint them, and spend so many hours with all of these faces, it’s overwhelming.”

Some of Maddalina’s portraits hit close to home as well.

“My aunt is a frontline worker and I painted her, and it was just heartwarming to see people showing their appreciation to the healthcare workers in their lives,” said Maddalina.

The collection’s display location, the Pittsford Fine Art Gallery, is significant as well. Maddalina has known the artists who run the gallery since she was young.

“It was so nice to be able to show my work with people that I care about, and I’m so glad that their gallery got to thrive during this time too.”

All proceeds from the collection are being donated to Project HOPE.

The portraits are available to view in the Pittsford Fine Art Gallery until September 10.

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