Meet the Artist Who Painted a Huge Mural Honoring Milwaukee’s Medical Workers

Mauricio Ramirez has been busy. 

We’ve been big fans of Mauricio Ramirez’s work for years now. In 2017, the artist beautified a dozen of the city’s utility boxes, transforming the normally drab fixtures into colorful, kaleidoscopic works of art. That same year, he painted a larger-than-life-sized mural of the late musician Selena Quintanilla-Pérez on the side of a building in Walker’s Point.

In 2019, the Sixteenth Street Community Health Center, on Cesar Chavez Drive and Washington Street, commissioned another major mural. And Community Advocates asked him to paint an enormous four-story mural at the intersection Wisconsin Avenue and Sixth Street.

And now he’s really outdone himself. Last week he started a new project, on the eastern wall of a building at the intersection of Sixth Street and Lincoln Avenue, close to the Basilica of Saint Josephat. The work, titled “Frontline Heroes,” portrays a masked medical professional, hands clasped, praying intently. 

Ramirez posted a time-lapse video depicting his creation of the mural to his Instagram page soon after he finished the project this weekend.

The mural is a tribute to all of our health care workers that are currently fighting this battle,” he wrote.

While “Frontline Heroes” isn’t Ramirez’s largest work to date, it could well be his most impactful. Many of the city’s medical professionals will likely drive past it on their way to or from work. And maybe when they see it, they’ll remember that the rest of us are thankful for their tireless work on our behalf. 

For Ramirez, the project was personal. He grew up in Chicago, but he’s also visited Milwaukee often since he was a kid, because many of his relatives lived in the city and its surrounding suburbs. And he considers it a second home. So he wanted to do what he could to honor the city’s “frontline heroes.”

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Lindsey Anderson covers culture for Milwaukee Magazine. Before joining the MilMag team she worked as an editor at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago and wrote freelance articles for ArtSlant and Eater.