Ulster County accepts artist submissions for COVID-19 memorial

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KINGSTON – The COVID-19 Commemoration Commission has begun accepting design proposals from artists for a sculpture that will become the centerpiece of a memorial garden in Ulster County.

The request for artist designs is open through November 15.

The project, planned for a spring installation at the Ulster County Fairground complex in New Paltz, is to be a space for rest and reflection with interpretive signage linked to a comprehensive website which will feature the stories of front-line workers and other members of the community.

“This unprecedented time took its toll, but it also showed the shared strength of our communities who came together and persevered through the pandemic,” Acting County Executive Johanna Contreras said. “This project will culminate not just in a simple monument, but a testament to hope, unity, and a lasting message for future generations.”

The commission has engaged school districts across the county, institutions of higher learning and art organizations in order to involve local artists at every level and, in particular, to give youth the opportunity to participate.

“Art can inspire and comfort us. Art also helps us express gratitude during difficult times,” County Legislature Chairwoman Tracey Bartels said. “We hope this memorial will not only be a place of solace and healing but will also celebrate how we cared for one another during a worldwide health emergency.”

The commission, made up of front line workers ranging from nurses, EMS responders and teachers, to food service, police officers and other essential workers, was established in March of 2022 by former County Executive Pat Ryan.