Paul Twietmeyer was looking for a way to create a tribute to front-line workers who have remained at their jobs during the COVID-19 pandemic, despite the potential risk.
The White Bear resident has created a mural that now hangs on the outside wall of the Carlyle Memorial Hall. Its message is simple: ”Thank You Frontline Workers,” with the face of a person wearing a mask.
In an email to the Observer, Twietmeyer said he decided to work on the mural because he was reading some of the rather misleading and selfish posts people often see on the internet, and some biased news reports. The various comments made him angry.
Far too many people were criticizing medical professionals and governments for asking the public to wear masks or get vaccinated, he said.
“How many of these people actually stop to think about all the nurses, teachers, store and shop workers, all aspects of medical assistance staff that willingly risk their own health to serve all of us daily?” he asks.
He thought that one small way he could draw attention to the lack of respect and appreciation is to offer that message of thanks he believes we should all have.
“I know most people feel this way but maybe a wake-up call for those who don’t, can be expressed in my artwork,” he said.
Twietmeyer said the mural looks good on the building, because it draws people’s attention without being obtrusive.
“That was the whole idea, was just to be a little bit thankful, instead of complaining all the time,” said Twietmeyer.
It wasn’t a time-consuming project, either, as it likely took five or six hours.
The people who have discussed the mural with him have provided very positive feedback. He’s surprised with the response the mural has generated.
“I wasn’t doing it to be a hero, it’s just something that was always on my mind, and I finally got around to making the mural just to express my feelings,” said Twietmeyer.
Twietmeyer has painted lots of murals over the years. With the Cornerstone Theatre Group, he’s been involved with painting backdrops and other scenery for those plays. He doesn’t have a degree in fine arts, but art does go with his work as a draftsman.
“I’ve been an artist my whole life. Ever since I was a little, I’ve been painting sceneries and pictures. I’ve been doing a lot of landscape painting,” he said.
His sister-in-law is a retired nurse, and he has a lot of friends who are nurses, teachers and other front-line workers.
“Teachers often get left out of the picture. Their job is extremely important,” said Twietmeyer.
There are so many people who have to be at work and offering their services, and taking more risks than the rest of us.
“We need as many people to be positive as possible about all of the workers that are involved in this,” said Twietmeyer.