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This is an inspiring story of the COVID-19 pandemic inspiring an artist to start pursuing his dream full-time.

Michael Schulbaum, local artist, spent 12 years as a full-time art teacher, but when COVID struck the world, as a type 1 diabetic, he had to take months off of work to protect himself.

He says arts has been his passion since age 3, but he went into teaching for many reasons, including the financial stability it provides.

“COVID brought a realization into me that life is too short to not do what you were born to do,” Schulbaum said.

Now his dreams are beginning to come true as he has been announced the winner of the Fine Art America national billboard contest. He was voted as 1 of 20 winners out of thousands to have his work displayed on a U.S. major city billboard.

“Love and Service” painted by Michael Schulbaum

His painting is called “Love and Service,” and he’s been told it’s very emotionally appropriate for the times we are in right now.

Schulbaum also surprised Indy Style’s Amber Hankins with a beautiful portrait (that’s still in progress) he created of her son.

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