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They interrupted their art to make masks for health care workers


gerstlart | Instagram | Fair Use

María Verónica Degwitz - published on 06/04/20

This family-operated businesses didn't hesitate to help where it was needed.

Times of crisis are times of great uncertainty, but they also bring out the best in people who want to do whatever they can to help others. During this pandemic we’ve seen many stories of generosity and dedication, like that of the Venezuelan artist Juan Gerstl and his team in Madrid.

Seeing the needs of hospitals and health care centers, Francisco Cosson, Juan’s cousin and the manager of their art workshop, suggested that they put their hands to work and make acrylic face shields with the materials they had in the workshop. They also had a cutting machine which would make it possible for them to produce up to 500 units a day.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Juan Gerstl Murzi 🧿 (@gerstlart)

It took them only 15 minutes to make the first prototype, and that’s how it all started. “Everything happened very quickly. The need for masks in hospitals was very high and we didn’t have time to organize much. We set up a couple of tables, made room to work and started production. We looked for two people to help us with the assembly of the masks and set up an improvised production line.”

This act of generosity was contagious; when they contacted some of the material suppliers, explaining their need, donations began to arrive. They even received private donations from people who saw the work they were doing on Instagram and wanted to collaborate.

The response of the health care workers when they received the masks was their main motivation. “Several times more than one health care worker broke down in tears when they saw the number of masks arriving.” For several weeks they were producing masks constantly, spending all day in the workshop, making up to 800 masks a day to cover the daily demand.

Juan and Francisco and their entire team are happy to have done their bit during this crisis: “Being able to help so many people in such a short time was a tiring but very rewarding experience that we would undoubtedly repeat. Ever since we were children, we were taught to help others, and we will continue to do so throughout our lives.”

This may be one of the most important and significant works that have been made in that art workshop, as Juan himself states on his social network accounts: “Life is a work of art, and each life is unique.”


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