fall_banner.jpg
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Downtown Billings mural remembers those lost to COVID-19

porta mural posed.jpg
Nadya Faulx
/
Yellowstone Public Radio
Porta stands in front of the mural near 1st and 29th in downtown Billings.

A new mural in an alleyway in downtown Billings memorializes the hundreds of community members lost to COVID-19.

The mural – in vivid blues, pinks, oranges and greens – depicts a faceless teen wearing a mask, surrounded by short letters written to loved ones who’ve died during the pandemic.

“This is supposed to go out to the universe,” said artist Terri Porta. “So you want to write a message to them where they’ll see it, if you believe that sort of thing.”

Porta designed and painted the mural with a group of teens working with the Yellowstone Art Museum. The project was completed this summer in partnership with the City of Billings and RiverStone Health.

porta mural letter.jpg
Nadya Faulx
/
Yellowstone Public Radio
A letter in Porta's downtown Billings mural

One message reads: “Thank you for sharing with us your kindness.” In another, a 7-year-old writes to his grandpa: “I miss your bear hugs.”

Porta invites people to contribute more letters remembering some of those who’ve died from COVID-19.

“If it fills completely up, I would be more than happy,” she said. “Maybe one way that we can all just say thank you for your lives, we miss you.”

Since April 2020, 580 Yellowstone County residents have died from COVID-19.