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New mural at Oceanfront honors those on the front line of the fight against COVID-19

New heroes are emerging from the coronavirus pandemic, and Norfolk artist Sam Welty is paying tribute.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — There's some new artwork at the oceanfront. If you drive by 24th street and Pacific Avenue, you'll see a giant mural dedicated to frontline workers of the coronavirus pandemic. The painting is about 50-feet-tall and 140-feet-wide. 

13News Now reporter Dana Smith spoke to the artist about why he decided to pay tribute.

New heroes are emerging from the coronavirus pandemic.

"It's a different type of war going on and these are the people who are fighting it for us."

And Norfolk artist Sam Welty is paying tribute.

"You're not used to thinking of people like grocery store clerks or delivery people – healthcare professionals obviously serve a very relevant and necessary purpose, but you don't think of them as being on the front lines of a conflict."

His newest artwork is a 7 thousand square foot mural in honor of essential workers.

"They're the ones who are on the front lines, the ones who are making sure the rest of us stay safe… We never thought of that before, it never occurred to us, and now it's very much in our faces."

All gathered above a quote from the late Fred Rogers, host of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood.

"Look to the helpers. You will always find people who are helping. And that's what this mural is for, these are the people who are helping."

Welty said he wanted to make sure those working on the front lines, know they're appreciated.

And it's more than just a tribute, he said he also wanted to show connectivity between people.

"The crisis we're going through right now, it's not just our community, it's the entire world. It's not just our country, it's everyone. It's the entire human race dealing with this," Welty said. "This is a wonderful opportunity to find out if there's more that connects us than separates us. If there's more that makes us one than makes us other. And the message really is, we're all in this together."

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