Frontline healthcare workers receive medals made by local artists at Boise State

Posted at 10:29 PM, Mar 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-21 00:43:33-04

BOISE, Idaho — Local artists at Boise State University are joining a global effort to thank and honor frontline healthcare workers.

The Hand Medal Project has one goal: to enlist artists to create hand-shaped medals honoring the sacrifice frontline workers have made during the pandemic.

66 countries are participating in the project, but Boise State's team consists of students and staff from the department of art, design and visual studies. Gathered by Anika Smulovitz, a professor in the Art Jewelry & Metalsmithing program, the team consists of herself, two students and four BSU alumni to make 80 hand medals for the project.

"It was an opportunity for our program as the students to give back in a small way," said Maite Iribarren-Gorrindo, a student in Boise State's Art Jewelry & Metalsmithing program. "These tokens of appreciation of gratitude to the frontline workers that have done so much for us."

According to Boise State, Smulovitz says the goal is not to focus on the artists, but on the frontline healthcare workers "who have risked everything to care for their communities during the pandemic."

Frontline healthcare workers at St. Luke's received their hand medals from Boise State at the end of 2020.

Each of the hand medals has a special number stamped on the back, so recipients can look up the maker of that medal on the project's website, despite the hand medals all using the same uniform template. The Hand Medal Project says the design is meant to be simple enough for all skill levels to make, and that it creates a "collective voice, reinforcing the shared gratitude that is the project’s mission."