High Impact

The Sarasota Heroes Mural Is Becoming a City Inspiration

Local nurses are snapping selfies, and a city official hopes for more murals like this one.

By Susan Burns May 22, 2020

A group of nurses pose with Raw Sugar's Ronnie Shugar and Donda Mullis, as well as muralist Karen Chandler, in front of the Sarasota Heroes mural.

The Sarasota Heroes mural on 1717 Second St.—and on the cover of our May/June issue—is taking on a life of its own. We came up with the idea of honoring health care workers on our cover with a piece of art back in late March. This cover idea quickly became a community project when we thought about creating a public mural and turned to the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Sarasota County. They helped us find a wall on a building (owned by Ronnie Shugar and Donda Mullis of Raw Sugar Living, whose vegan-friendly, personal care products company is headquartered there--Raw Sugar has also donated 10 million bars of soap to humanitarian nonprofits globally), the talented artist Karen Chandler, and generous donors.

Since the mural was finished this month, people have been stopping by to take selfies. One of them was Sarasota Memorial Hospital labor and delivery nurse Carly Bayer, who posted her selfie online and then brought a group of her labor and delivery nurse co-workers to come by for a group shot. We loved that they drew hearts on their masks.

Look closely and you'll see the nurses drew hearts on their masks—just like the mural.

Image: Shutterstock

Also present was Sarasota City Manager Tom Barwin who’s interested in putting out a call for blank walls and funds to create five other murals downtown this summer. It's a way to help local artists, he says. Interested in helping? Contact [email protected].

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