Santa Monica Observer - Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

By Alyssa Erdley
Observer Staff 

Bergamot Station to Get 6-Foot Garland of Roses For National Day of Mourning March 1 in Memoriam for Covid-19 Dead

Artists seek to bring solace to those impacted by Covid-19

 

February 25, 2021

Floral Heart Project

With the nation's death toll from Covid-19 passing half a million this week and nearly 20,000 deceased in Los Angeles County, a group of artists and individuals sought to find a way for the country to grieve. The result this March 1 will be the installation of a heart-shaped garland of felt roses at the Building Bridges Art Exchange at Bergamot Station.

The groups involved include the Floral Heart Project, conceived by artist Kristina Libby. Concerned about the number of survivors of the high death toll and the prediction that 15% of them could suffer from PTSD, Libby sought to "provide healing, compassion and sympathy for those impacted." She creates visualizations of lost loved ones and holds vigils and ritual ceremonies for mourners.

Rose River Memorial envisioned at the Washington Monument

Also involved in the Rose River Memorial, whose goal is to create a massive artwork to collectively grieve as a nation. On their website you can find instructions to make the felt roses the group is using to create "undulating rows in a stunning outdoor location, one rose for each life taken." Roses are used, says the website because "throughout history in many cultures and religions" they "symbolize the passing of the spirit, to mourn the dead, and seek solace." They add, "Rose River is a casket for the nation, a river of roses to show respect and to grieve."

A third sponsor is Carolyn Freyer-Jones of Mar Vista and founder of the Friday Minute. After Freyer-Jones's father passed away from Covid-19 in July (he contracted it in a New York hospital), she and her brother began a ritual of 60 seconds of silence every Friday for those impacted in any way by Covid. Anyone is welcome to participate via Instagram.

The project that will end up at Bergamot Station is also sponsored by 1-800-Flowers and BloomStudios as well as hundreds of volunteers.

 

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