Like everyone else, Austin Zucchini-Fowler had no idea.
The assistant coach for Mullen’s swimming and diving teams was overwhelmed, like everyone else, by the severity and ramifications of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
And when he tried to make a statement and actually bring some attention to a key aspect of it, he was overwhelmed again.
You may have seen his work – Zucchini-Fowler, an artist, recently offered a mural near downtown Denver to salute healthcare workers on the front line standing up to the virus. His colorful concept, entitled “Healthcare Hero,” centers on a professional in full medical garb sporting angel’s wings and boxing gloves, a powerful painting against COVID-19 that displays outright defiance to the virus and a willingness to take it on directly.
“I was inspired,” Zucchini-Fowler said of developing the idea. “I have friends and family who are in the healthcare profession and I got an opportunity to do a wall. They are brothers and wives and nieces doing this and I was inspired with what they are doing. I wanted to put them in the spotlight and show appreciation for all of the hard work and challenges that they are facing now.”
An artist since college who debuted his work a year ago, he started the mural – on a building wall located on Colfax Avenue between Williams and Gilpin Streets, next to a Taco Bell – on Easter weekend. It took two day and 10 hours to complete.
And, much to his surprise, it has gone viral and been seen worldwide.
“The attention? Absolutely insane,” Zucchini-Fowler said. “The New York Times has reached out. It has been posted on ABC, NBC, Fox, more and more on Yahoo, like, on every network out there.
“I think the cool thing about it is that it has gotten positive feedback for the doctors and nurses. "They’re saying kind things about them, it has been uplifting, making them cry and there’s joy and they have been really thankful.”
Mullen head boys and girls swimming and diving coach Susan Stone said “I’m very, very proud of him. This is kind of his dream come true and I’m excited by what the future holds for him doing this. It has turned into a big story.”
Also a club coach for the Hilltoppers swimming team, Zucchini-Fowler continued to be amazed by his mural, and he’s glad he’s amazed.
“It has turned into a message of strength and empowerment for healthcare providers,” he said. “Did I have any idea? I had some thought on it. It’s on a busy street, on Colfax, and I knew it would be viewed. I thought it would get a little attention, but it has gotten a lot of attention. Italy just posted it. It has made it abroad and at least through the online viewing it has been seen by more than 1,000,000 people.”
It’s Zucchini-Fowler’s fourth mural and for every 10 he sells, he will send one to a hospital.
Here’s a link to his site: