Art doesn’t need to have a purpose but, especially in times of confusion and suffering, intentionality can go a long way. MoBella Russo, a mother of two children and painter of abstract pictures living in Chicago, has spent the better part of the quarantine creating Paintings for Heroes, jazzy 5x7-inch watercolors dedicated to individuals nominated by family or friends. Videos of her process post to a dedicated Instagram account; the finished work is delivered to the nominee. Russo is at number 41 and counting, and thus far has gifted her neon-tinged creations to a wide range of people, most of whom could be your neighbor: a local food distributor, a night shift ER nurse, a mental health counselor, a men’s center case manager, a pediatrician. Many of these people do heroic work in the best of times; if it takes a global pandemic for them to get the thank you they deserve, so be it. May it keep on coming, long after the discovery and distribution of a vaccine.
—Lori Waxman 2020-07-12 4:40 PM