Holland artist’s signs aim to cheer hospital workers, community

Six pieces of colorful, whimsical artwork with uplifting messages have been placed around Holland Hospital to greet people as they arrive or drive past the busy medical facilities that, like many hospitals, are being stretched to care for people who have COVID-19.

The art was made by Holland artist Carolyn Stich. Like many people, Stitch wanted to do something to show her appreciation for the health care workers in her community making a difference during the pandemic.
Carolyn Stich has combined her whimiscal art with uplifting messages in artwork she created to honor essential workers.

“They're all putting themselves at risk and making sacrifices, I really wanted to do something,” says Stich, a two-time Tulip Time poster winner and author of the book, Twas the Night Before Christmas in Holland, MI. “I just wanted to say thank you and let people know we're thinking of them and we're grateful for them.”

She first came up with the idea of making ornaments for Holland Hospital employees until she learned there are 2,900 workers — more than triple what she figured. 

She credits a nurse who stopped by her downtown Holland shop, Carolyn Stich Studio, for sparking an idea when she mentioned the large holiday cards displayed in the front yards of homes in Zeeland. 

Uplifting messages

Stitch decided to turn her artwork into six large signs with the following uplifting messages:

Big Hugs to you and your family 
Prayers of Hope, Comfort, & Peace for you 
We are all in this together
Heroes work here and we are grateful for you all
You are surrounded by hope, love, and compassion
We love our essential workers

The hospital, which has received many donations from the community during the pandemic — from food for staff to PPE supplies — was delighted with the artwork.

“Our campus just got brighter, thanks to the beautiful work of Carolyn Stich Studio. These art pieces are sure to bring joy and encouragement to our staff and patients alike. We can't thank you and our community enough for the uplifting donation,” the hospital shares in a Facebook post. 
Artist Carolyn Stich in her downtown Holland shop.
Stitch wants her art to give people something to smile about, whether they are hospital workers, patients, or families dropping off loved ones for medical care. 

“We have all heard the horrible stories COVID has brought on,” Stitch says. “Through it all, though, we also hear the incredible stories of kindness, hope, and compassion of the hospital staff as they take care of our loved ones during these unprecedented difficult times.”

The whole project came together in a week, thanks to several people and businesses stepping up to help out. Retailer RepcoLite Paint donated $200 worth of supplies for the project. Fris Supply Shop gave her the foam core for the posters of the artwork that graces the hospital hallways with the uplifting messages. Engineering Supply and Imaging provided a deep discount on the printing of the outdoor vinyl signs. And her husband, Ellis, and his men's Bible study group, paid for all of the wood and put together the signs, which were installed by the hospital.

Stich is grateful the signs have been well-received by the hospital and community.

“We all have gifts, and this is just one gift that I have,” Stitch says. 

Read more about Carolyn Stich:

Hidden Treasures: Artist Carolyn Stich brings whimsy to holiday tradition


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Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.