HCN News & Notes

New Art with Heart Program Seeks Youth Who Have Experienced Loss  


NORTHAMPTON –The Garden: A Center for Grieving Children and Teens, a program of Cooley Dickinson VNA & Hospice, seeks children ages 5 to 18 who have experienced a significant loss to participate in The Garden’s new Art with Heart program.  


Art with Heart, a free, two-day program that pairs grieving youth with a local artist to create art as an expression of grief, will be conducted May 15 and 22, from 2 to 4 p.m., at the VNA & Hospice office, located at 168 Industrial Dr. 


“We believe in reinforcing the connection between the head, heart, and hand to help one express their feelings around grief that may have previously been unspoken,” said Shelly Lenn, program coordinator at The Garden. “Grieving youth can use art to help them further understand their experience and gain a sense of mastery and confidence while serving as a ‘container’ for the intense feelings associated with grief.  


Any child who has experienced a significant loss is encouraged to participate; there are no limits on how, where or when the death occurred.  An adult care giver is required to attend. To register, call Lenn at (413) 727-5749. 


Local artists have been selected and will be assigned to one of four small groups of grieving youth based on the ages of the children. In each of the groups, participants will learn the artist’s medium and make an art piece.  


The art piece that is created is designed to help participants express their feelings and/or remember those in their life who have died. All work produced will become part of a series to be displayed around the Pioneer Valley and at an event to be held in the summer of 2023 will showcase all of the art that is created. This event will culminate with the 25th anniversary of the opening of The Garden. 


The Garden will provide support to each artist to design a project that helps the kids either commemorate the person who died or express their feelings around the death. For example, a portraiture artist could lead a project using painting/sculpting/collage, etc. to make a portrait of the person who died.