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Hospice Art Show Opens March 4

Work includes that of Henkle students and White Salmon area residents

Nearly 40 gifted artists from throughout The Gorge will be submitting work to the Hospice Art Show, scheduled to run March 4 to 28 at the Columbia Art Gallery in Hood River.

This first-ever Hospice of The Gorge art show, titled "Exploring the Tree of Life, Artful Conversations about Living and Dying," is the result of a combined effort of Hospice of The Gorge, the Columbia Center for the Arts, and the Columbia Art Gallery.

It is a multifaceted show, with artists, writers and musicians joining hands to share their unique, artistic interpretation of the theme for this important show.

The three main elements of the show include the art exhibit itself, a related "Evening of Requiem Music," and an evening of "Literary Expressions and Artist Interpretations."

In all, the show promises to offer a broad and fascinating range of artistic points of view about the relationship between life and death.

The goal, according to Deborah Whiting Jaques, executive director for Hospice of The Gorge, is to stimulate community-wide dialog about issues pertaining to the end-of-life.

Jaques said, "End-of-life issues are among some of the most important issues we can address during our lives, but people are often reluctant to discuss them. We believe people need a gentle nudge from time to time. This show offers some more creative avenues for expression and understanding."

Columbia Center for the Arts executive director Judie Hanel said, "We're thrilled to be part of this important project. One of our goals at the center is to encourage art that reaches deep inside our psyches, and art that stirs the soul. This effort certainly moves us in this direction."

Artist John Mayo from White Salmon, has a strong interest in structure and form, which resonates clearly in the hanging sculptures he is submitting. His submission "Meet You There," is made out of steam bent western red cedar, white cedar, nylon and bees wax.

He said, "I made this piece recently after the death of a good friend. I was able to sit with him for a time each day as he moved through his dying process. In this piece, I am seeking to unite birth and death in form, using timeless materials and techniques."

Jaques sums up the show by saying that she's amazed by the art and the artist interpretations. "The pieces submitted so far are extraordinary. I've looked at them with awe and wonder -- and then read the artist's reason for their work -- looked again, and felt, well, overwhelmed by the power of their work. The pieces are multi-media; there are paintings, sculpture, photos and dioramas. I just have to say, I urge everyone to go. This is the kind of show that everyone can get something out of."

The seed for the "Tree of Life" theme is a large mural created by local artist Louise Harris Emerson, expressly for the new administrative center for Hospice of The Gorge.

The art show and related events are all open to the public, free of charge.

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