Promoting Awareness, Funding, and Women’s Art with Nurse Heroes

How can we properly honor healthcare professionals risking their lives on the front lines of COVID-19? Philanthropist and art collector Sandi Nicholson, and her husband Bill Nicholson, recently announced the launch of “Nurse Heroes,” an art contest and fundraising campaign to support the healthcare heroes of 2020.

A New York nurse celebrates during the city’s daily 7:00 clap for healthcare heroes. (Image Credit: Nurse Heroes)

“This year we celebrate the bicentennial of the birth of Florence Nightingale, founder of modern nursing and the first nursing college,” the Nicholsons announced in a press release. “Today, the legacy of Florence Nightingale continues, with people all over the world opening their doors and windows to show appreciation for our health care workers on the front lines. With ‘Nurse Heroes’ we recognized an opportunity to do more.”

Starting in July 2020, “Nurse Heroes” will consist of twelve monthly art contests. Adults and children alike are encouraged to submit pieces in one of four categories: Painting, Drawing, Photography, and Poetry. Over the course of the contest, celebrity guests and influencers will announce the finalists and the winners online.

“There is an urgent need to support our nurses and their families,” said Ms. Nicholson. “We face a rapidly accelerating shortage of nurses. Prior to COVID -19 we had a shortage of trained nurses in the United States; if nothing changes by 2022 we will have about 1 million fewer nurses than we need.”

Sandi Nicholson (left) celebrates with Elaine Brennan (right), Executive Director of Northwell Health. (Image Credit: Nurse Heroes)

The Nicholsons hope to raise awareness and funds for the shortage of qualified nurses through this art competition.

This contest runs in partnership with Times Square LIVE!, the company that arranges things like billboards and marquees in the famous tourist destination. Winners of the “Nurse Heroes” art competition will have their pieces displayed (weather permitting) in an installation in the heart of Times Square, with digital versions spanning the iconic billboards and physical version in an in-person, gallery-style exhibition on site.

The Times Square exhibits will also display pieces from “Women Who Dared,” the largest collection in private hands entirely composed of pieces by women artists. Spanning more than 330 pieces, 2,500 years of work, and all 7 continents, the “Women Who Dared” collection has never been displayed to the public–and represents the adversity, pride, and power of some of the world’s best female artists.

“Art has been shown to heal, inspire and motivate,” said Ms. Nicholson. “By joining this exciting art contest, everyone can help honor and celebrate our nurse heroes. Donations to ‘Nurse Heroes’ will provide important opportunities and resources for our nurses and their families.”

Proceeds from “Nurse Heroes” will benefit Northwell Health, a nonprofit integrated healthcare network and New York State’s largest healthcare provider.

“We are sincerely grateful for the Nicholsons’ support and Nurse Heroes’ effort,” said Northwell Health’s President and CEO, Michael Dowling. “Over the past several months, more than 20,000 team members of Northwell’s nursing staff have shown remarkable grit and selflessness as they faced the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York. I applaud efforts like the Nurse Heroes who honor the unwavering dedication of nurses – they are a special breed who deserve recognition, especially during this challenging time.”

Ms. Nicholson added, “[For their] legacy of contributions to the communities they serve and the distinguished service provided by their front line healthcare and nursing professionals during the COVID crisis, we are delighted to select the nurses of Northwell as the first beneficiary of ‘Nurse Heroes’ and the ‘Women who Dared’ collection.”

There are three ways to participate in “Nurse Heroes”:

  • Enter the competition. Starting this month, participants can submit art pieces in four categories: Drawing, Painting, Photography, and Poetry. Participation is free, and finalists will have the opportunity to enter the Nurse Heroes Art Masters Contest, which will select four Art Masters: one from each of the categories in the contest.
  • Celebrate the Nurse Heroes in your life. At 11:00am on the first Sunday of every month, celebrity ambassadors will announce the finalists for each monthly Nurse Heroes art contest. Finalists will be revealed and winners selected in these online events, and the winning pieces can be viewed in the Nurse Heroes Digital Gallery or through the in-person exhibitions in Times Square.
  • Donate to the cause. Donations are powered by Pledgeling, a digital fundraising platform utilized by more than two million nonprofits around the world. You can make a donation here, or by texting the word CANDLE to 707070.

About Sandi and Bill Nicholson: Sandi and Bill Nicholson are art collectors, activists, and philanthropists. The Nicholsons are the private collectors of “Women Who Dared,” the only art collection of its kind in private hands. Over 330 pieces, spanning 2,500 years, from all 7 continents, the “Women Who Dared” collection is the largest, most impressive, exclusive women art collection – and never before seen by the public. It shows the adversity, pride and power of some of the world’s best female artists.


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Author: Maggie May

Maggie May is a small business owner, author, and story-centric content strategist. A Maryland transplant by way of Florida, DC, Ireland, Philadelphia, and -- most recently -- Salt Lake City, she has a passion for finding stories and telling them the way they're meant to be told.

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