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Detroit planning large public art installation to honor lives lost in COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 11:08 AM, Jun 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-15 11:08:45-04

DETROIT (WXYZ) — The City of Detroit is planning a large-scale public art installation to recognizes lives lost through the COVID-19 pandemic.

The city's Office of Arts, Culture and Entrepreneurship will be partnering with Cranbrook Art Museum, the TCF Convention Center and the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy.

The city says the installation will provide support and healing for all residents of southeastern Michigan who have experienced loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is open to people who experienced all forms of loss, including physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, occupational and environmental.

The Healing Memorial installation will be led by artist Sonya Clark and curated by Laura Mott, senior curator of Contemporary Art and Design, of Cranbrook Art Museum.

The installation will allow participants to create colorful, hand-made personal dedications out of fabric that will come together to form a dramatic installation at the Huntington Center in downtown Detroit. The floor-to-ceiling installation will be adorned by these pouches and contain a written dedication—such as a blessing, keepsake, intention or commemoration.

The art will be created by residents at various pop-up making stations set up across the region this summer. Materials to make the individual pieces include fabric of different shapes, colors and textures. The individual pieces will then be delicately collected to create a patchwork of participants’ memories.

The Healing Memorial project kicks off June 19 during the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy’s annual Juneteenth celebration when the first pop-up making stations will open along the Dequindre Cut Greenway at 2 p.m.

"Covid has taken a profound toll on our region and many Detroiters and Metro Detroiters share a common grief over the loss of a loved one." Mayor Mike Duggan said in a press release. We hope this very personal memorial will help in the healing process and serve as an opportunity for people across our region to understand and support one another. I'm grateful to Rochelle Riley and our partners at TCF Center, Cranbrook and the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy for helping to make the vision for this memorial a reality."

“Last summer, when the city hosted the Covid-19 Memorial Drive around Belle Isle, we couldn’t include everyone,” Riley said in a press release. “We promised, as the hub of this great region, to come back with a larger memorial for everyone. This is it, and it is designed to help us all heal from whatever loss hurts us – loss of loved ones, loss of job, loss of a sense of security. We want to provide a space to try to heal it all.”

The memorial’s partners are encouraging participation by residents throughout the metro Detroit area. Visit www.detroitriverfront.org/thehealingwall for more info.

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

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Visit our The Rebound Detroit, a place where we are working to help people impacted financially from the coronavirus. We have all the information on everything available to help you through this crisis and how to access it.