Press Release

National Nurses United #ProtectNurses Online Art Show Opening Event and Panel Discussion with the Artists

Wednesday, May 6, 5:30 p.m. PT/8:30 p.m. ET

Art show graphicNational Nurses United is exhibiting artists’ new work on a Facebook live #ProtectNurses Art Show event, May 6, 2020, at 5:30 p.m. PT/8:30 p.m. ET.

The show features artwork by national artists to highlight nurses’ and other health care workers’ need for personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The event will kick off Nurses Week, which runs from May 6 to May 12, 2020.

Click here to register for the event.

NNU has been at the forefront of the movement to protect nurses, patients, and the public during the COVID-19 spread. Social media has blossomed as a significant way for nurses to communicate about the pandemic, and to compare notes on hospitals’ and governments’ lack of preparedness.

“We are using every means possible to call attention to the lack of PPE that confronts nurses and other caregivers in their workplace,” says Bonnie Castillo, RN and executive director of NNU. “Art has the power to bring attention to social issues and transform society. These artworks portray both the struggle nurses face daily, and the passion they have for protecting their patients.”

The artworks were commissioned by NNU, and are being used on social media to promote the event, with the May 6, #ProtectNurses Art Show as the national premiere of the work, introduced live by the artists.

The exhibition features work by seven artists from across the country, including artists from the San Francisco Bay Area in California, Richmond, Virginia, and Tampa, Florida. Artists were asked to depict nurses fighting for personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to use the #ProtectNurses hashtag, or reference the website, in their work.

Participating artist Innosanto Nagara, who lives in Oakland, is recognized in the Bay Area for his decades of political activism designing artworks for social justice organizations. He is also the author of five children’s books, including the bestseller A is for Activist.

“When NNU approached me for this work, I wanted to do something that celebrated their members while at the same time challenging the rest of us to do better by them. My hope was to capture the power and determination that we are all inspired by, and that nurses see in themselves, without masking the price they are paying,” Nagara says.

Melanie Cervantes, a Bay Area artist who also has a long history of activism, is deeply concerned about the position that lack of preparation for COVID-19 has put nurses and other health care workers in.

“I can’t even totally wrap my mind around what nurses are going through in terms of not being safe. I know they’re under terrible stress. Our systems don’t respond to the real needs of health care workers and the public,” says Cervantes.

The art show and information about the artists, along with links to download images, will continue to run online following the May 6 event.

Artists in the Exhibition:


  • Oakland: Innosanto Nagara
  • San Francisco: Fernando Mari
  • San Leandro: Jesus Barraza; Melanie Cervantes.
  • Vallejo: Erin FitzGerald


  • Richmond: Laura Chow-Reeve


  • Tampa: Sam Huang