New mural honours healthcare ‘angels’

The West Nipissing Community Health Centre sponsored a new mural for downtown, painted by Dianne Lacourciere, in recognition of COVID-19 front line workers. L-R: Dianne Lacourcière, Gayle Primeau, Dr. Janique Vandal and Guy Robichaud, executive director of the health centre.

A new set of wings have gone up in Sturgeon Falls – wings of protection and care during times of COVID. The new mural, painted by Dianne Lacourcière and sponsored by the WN Community Health Centre, is an homage to all the frontline workers in the current health crisis facing the entire world. The symbol is well chosen, comparing the humble souls who put themselves in the line of fire against a common enemy to “guardian angels.”

The two-panel mural was mounted April 6 on the north facing wall of the building at the corner of John and Main. “Guy [Robichaud, director of the health centre] had two [designs] that he liked and I picked that one,” says Dianne Lacourcière. She explains that the artwork was adapted from that of Denver-based artist Austin Zucchini-Fowler, who painted an arresting, multicolored “Healthcare Hero” mural on the wall of an abandoned building in Colorado. The mural shows a winged healthcare worker wearing a face mask and a pair of red boxing gloves. “His image, for COVID reasons, he’s given his copyright out to anyone who wants to use it.” It’s part of a worldwide effort of street artists to raise awareness, and aid the battle with inspirational art.

As a retired healthcare worker herself, Lacourcière has a connection not only as an artist, but as a volunteer and someone who has devoted much of her life to the care of others. “I worked as an RPN for 20 years at a nursing home in Corbeil. I retired 10 years ago, in 2011. I moved here in 1980. I’ve been here a long time, my kids were raised and went to school here.”

She was surprised when Gayle Primeau, who coordinates the mural projects in downtown Sturgeon Falls, called upon her to share her artistic talent. Lacourcière has been an artist for about 6 years, took online courses, entered and won an art contest, and studied with different artists on a weekly basis. “I like to work in paper collage, and always have a figure in it, or a female… I wasn’t known around town much with my art… so I was surprised when Gayle called me to do this mural. At first I hesitated because I’ve never done anything as big as that. She kind of talked me into it and I’m glad she did now!”

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