Commemorative COVID-19 exhibit opens at The Health Museum

Artist Joni Zavitsanos is looking to bring faces to the names of those who died as a result of the coronavirus pandemic with her exhibit that will be on display through Jan. 31. (Courtesy Joni Zavitsanos)
Artist Joni Zavitsanos is looking to bring faces to the names of those who died as a result of the coronavirus pandemic with her exhibit that will be on display through Jan. 31. (Courtesy Joni Zavitsanos)

Artist Joni Zavitsanos is looking to bring faces to the names of those who died as a result of the coronavirus pandemic with her exhibit that will be on display through Jan. 31. (Courtesy Joni Zavitsanos)

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated the exhibit was free to visit. The exhibit is free with general admission.

Houston-area residents who died as a result of the coronavirus pandemic are being memorialized in a new exhibit now on display at John P. McGovern Museum of Health & Science in Houston.

Titled "Living Icons: A Commemoration of the Victims of Houston's COVID-19 Pandemic," the installation will be on display through Jan. 31.

The project was created by artist Joni Zavitsanos and is intended to provide a glimpse into the human effect of the pandemic as well as what the losses mean to the Houston community, according to a description provided by The Health Museum. As of Oct. 21, the Harris County Public Health Department estimates 6,061 residents have died from coronavirus.

In a statement posted to her website, Zavitsanos said she was troubled by anonymity of COVID-19 victims as their deaths were reported in the news.


"Towards the end of March 2020, shortly after the lockdown, I began searching for names and families of Houston-area victims of COVID-19 so that I could personally and individually honor them," she said. "I have chosen to depict them in a large-scale, gridded art piece and plan to gather their families to host a memorial service to open what I hope to be an extended presence for this installation."

The exhibit includes 700 names and photos, Zavitsanos said. The exhibit, which is free with general admission, can be found at 1515 Hermann Drive, Houston.

General admission—which also provides access to the Museum's multiple exhibits—is $10 for ages 13 and older; $8 for children ages 3-12 and seniors 65 and above; and free for children ages 2 and younger. It is also free on Thursdays from 2-7 p.m.

The museum also offers a Museums for All program, which allows guests to visit for a fee of $3 for up to four people with the presentation of a SNAP Electronic Benefits Transfer card.

More information can be found on the Health Museum's website.


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