‘A Place to Mourn.’

 As the death toll from the pandemic increased to unimaginable numbers, I found myself unable to work as a studio artist; I was emotionally overwhelmed. One evening while watching a special report on the PBS Newshour, one of the doctors interviewed explained the massive losses the world was dealing with; the enormity of the grief that humanity was trying to cope with. I remember writing down these words that he said – “we will need places to mourn.”
I decided I would create floral memorials in my hometown to honor our community’s need to pause, reflect and grieve our collective losses associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. My first installation (“A Place to Mourn”) was self-funded and completed in May 2021 in my own NE Olympia neighborhood. The site location was outdoors, on a friend’s property and near a street with high foot traffic. Fresh flowers were attached and wrapped around a stone sculpture. Garlands were hung in a circle from a huge walnut tree encircling a bench for visitors to sit, write in a journal, read a poem, and light a candle. The fresh flowers lasted 26 days, and the community members were overwhelmingly moved by the gift, gesture, and installation. I created a second memorial, “A Place to Reflect,” in September 2021 in a neglected pocket park in Olympia’s Northwest neighborhood. The installation created an opportunity for the Neighborhood Association, neighbors, and families to revitalize a valuable gathering space returning it to its original stature. I contacted twelve of my friends and art collectors to help fund this installation, and they generously responded with the $1,200 that was necessary. The responses from my community have been tremendous. Here are five comments I want to share with you:
“I visited your Place today, in the rain. What a gesture of human longing. A celebration of vulnerability. Thanks for your honest and loving work.”
“This is a beautiful project. I so appreciate that you and your wonderful assistants have created a space for quiet reflection and, as Maya Lin states in A Strong Clear Vision, a place to cry and remember. I hope you are well. You are in my thoughts.”
“You think of everything and act on everything. What a blessing you are to so many! Thanks. It looks beautiful.”
“What a nice visit I had today. Thank you for the beautiful garden and bench. Very serene. I needed it. The poem is beautiful too. You are special to have put it out there for us to have a place to grieve and grow grateful.”
“Very interesting, Kathy. In Judaism, we have and are taught from a young age Tikun Olam, the concept where we try to help and heal the world. This artistic concept you created fits right in that category. I will try to make it to Olympia to meditate on those special people I know plus the rest of humankind that has physically left us though their memories remain within us.”

Please join me to raise funds for another community floral installation by contributing to my Go Fund Me Campaign. To read more about the two previous floral installations and learn about the vision for a third, click here: https://gofund.me/29eb3dda

As I embark on my largest installation to date, I need to raise $5,000 to purchase over three hundred bunches of spray roses that an all-volunteer team will turn into 200 garlands. Any dollar amount you can donate helps me extend this goodwill outward into all of our communities. “A Place to Pause” will be installed at Childhoods End Gallery, 222 4th Ave W, Olympia, WA 98501 for a show titled “Bloom” open from June 17th through July 30th, 2022.


A Place To Mourn