Though it feels as if we’re blessedly nearing the end of the COVID-19 pandemic, we will undoubtedly feel its impacts well into the future. And it can be cathartic to remember the many “helpers” who supported others during the pandemic — the healthcare heroes and the frontline workers.
Artist Laura Weiss, who is also a nurse in Boulder County, is commemorating the many hardworking healthcare staffers who helped keep us safe and healthy over the last two years with a new piece of art: A chandelier made from vaccine vials.
The chandelier, a one-of-a-kind piece that Weiss created using empty vaccine vials from Boulder County, is on display in the main lobby of the Loveland Museum from now through mid-April. If you’re seeking a moment of quiet reflection about the last two years, it’s worth making the 30-mile drive to Loveland in the next few weeks. The four-foot-tall chandelier, called the “Light of Appreciation,” is believed to be the only one of its kind in the state.
“It’s very difficult to get approval to use these vials,” Weiss said. “I was fortunate to get the approval from my supervisors at Boulder County Public Health only after agreeing to clean all the vials, keep the vials for this purpose only and dispose of any unused vials in an appropriate manner.”
Weiss was retired, but when Boulder County Public Health asked for help administering COVID-19 vaccines, she came back to work. After inoculating thousands of Coloradans, she felt compelled to do something to express her gratitude for all the other volunteers and healthcare workers who helped out during the pandemic.
“As a Boulder County Public Health nurse, I was witness to the inexhaustible efforts of healthcare workers and volunteers who assisted in vaccinating Boulder County residents,” she said. “I was inspired to repurpose hundreds of Moderna vaccine vials and create this ‘Light of Appreciation.’ It is meant to honor and show appreciation for all those who have helped keep people alive, either by getting the vaccine to protect themselves and others, caring for those suffering from COVID or by assisting in the vaccination effort. We are all connected in this effort.”
Her decision to create a chandelier out of the vials is symbolic, too.
“After so much loss, uncertainty and anxiety, may the light bring hope for a brighter future,” she said.
To make this stunning piece of art, Weiss used 271 Moderna vials and 10 smaller Johnson & Johnson vials. She cleaned each vial, then drilled holes in them and began stringing them together using gage and crystals.
See it for yourself: The Loveland Museum is open Tuesday, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sundays from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. It’s located at the corner of 5th Street and Lincoln Avenue at 503 N Lincoln Ave.
General admission to the museum is free; to visit the museum’s main gallery, the fee is $7 per person 13 and up.