For the last 25 years “America’s Artist” Scott LoBaido has respectfully painted thousands of renditions of Old Glory on schools, homes, fire houses, police stations, cars, and canvases. Scott’s past is rather colorful. His work has been featured in thousands of newspaper articles, TV news programs and radio shows. You may have seen him interviewed on programs like Fox & Friends or NBC Nightly News. He was even named “Person of the Week” on ABC’s World News Tonight. I spoke with Scott, who hails from Staten Island, about his very public art project along a park fence on Broadway across the street from Elmhurst Hospital. His five-foot tall green cutout letters spell out “THANK YOU” as a tribute to essential personnel reporting for duty during COVID.
How did you decide on the type of tribute you were going to create at Elmhurst Hospital?
As soon as I saw what was going on, I tried to think of who to thank at the hospitals. I thought of honoring doctors, nurses, and all other workers, but didn’t want to leave anyone out. I realized that 2 simple words – Thank You – say it all, and apply to everyone.
Where else have you erected tributes?
At three Staten Island medical centers – Staten Island University, Richmond University and South Shore University Hospitals. When I saw that Queens was the epicenter, I knew I had to do one there, too.
Did you intend for people to write inspirational messages on your artwork?
The thought actually hadn’t crossed my mind. I was so touched to see that they did, though. The sign inspired other tributes and a shrine and when I saw it that’s when I knew God sent me to do this.
How long will the sign stay where it is?
I know it’s appreciated so it can stay as long as they want it there. When it’s time to take it down, I may present it to the hospital if they want it, or sell it and donate the proceeds to charity.
Do you have plans for future tributes?
I will be installing a giant windchime consisting of two 10-foot angel wings and 950 pieces of sea glass at a Staten Island beach. Each piece of glass represents a Staten Island COVID death. The first death was March 21, so it will be unveiled on May 21, the 2-month anniversary. Hopefully the count stops here, but I will add more if necessary. I currently have a traveling art exhibit I call “22-13” to call attention to the problem of veteran suicides. Every day, 22 former service members tragically take their own lives. The installation consists of a depiction of the number 22 in a mirror image to form an empty heart and around the base of it are 22 pairs of bronzed combat boots arranged in a circle.
To learn more about Scott LoBaido and purchase his artwork, please visit his website scottlobaido.com. A portion of his sales is donated to military and first responder causes.