Buzzy’s Bees, a nonprofit based in Beaverton, Oregon, has created the Give Grief a Voice project for, and in the community with, parents grieving the unexpected death of a child. The Project offers bereaved parents an opportunity to share their loss story with a professional writer, who creates a narrative from the interview. Then, an artist draws inspiration from that story to create an original art piece for the family.
The public is invited to attend a virtual panel at 7pm on March 22, 2023, to hear artists discuss the power of storytelling and how art supports the grieving process of bereaved parents.
Virtual Panel – Confronting Grief Through Art
7 pm on Wednesday, March 22, 2023
The link to attend will be available on westlinnoregon.gov/library
The stigma, loneliness, silence, and shame related to the unexpected death of a child impede our culture’s ability to grieve with families affected by this tragedy. Can art heal some of the pain of bereaved parents? Hear how this project seeks to open this question and change the conversation around grief to help better support the grieving people in our own lives. Providing voice and community to one family’s loss, the project invites viewers to confront their own stories of grief and loss. When we make public what was once private, we boldly set out on a path of possible healing. Art from the project is on display at the West Linn Public Library from March 1, 2023 – March 31, 2023.
Upcoming Dates for Exhibit Tour include:
March 1st – 31st, 2023 West Linn Public Library 1595 Burns St.
West Linn, OR 97068
June 1 – July 31, 2023 Brookwood Public Library 2850 NE Brookwood Pkwy Hillsboro, OR 97124
The Give Grief a Voice Gallery Tour has been funded in part by a grant from Regional Arts and Culture Council.
“How we as a culture support bereaved parents needs a serious update. Based on the conversations I’ve had with bereaved parents over the last five years, I can tell you that one of the best ways we can support these families is by remembering their child, saying their child’s name, and honoring their child’s life in some continuous way.” – Lisa Reit, Lead Writer and Development Editor
“The written story is our window – a small, small window – into the family’s experience. As I read the story I highlight details and metaphors that are clearly deeply meaningful to the family, such as objects or moments that I could reinterpret into a painting. And then I just try to work with a sketch of whatever comes to me. I’m just trying to listen. I’m listening for what’s the optimum image that can honor this story and support this family. I really want the piece to do that. It’s such an honor to have the chance to put these pieces together.” – Justin Jude Carroll, Artist for GGaV
“I have grown as an artist working with this project. The founder, Amanda, says the children from this project are part of her family now, and I feel the same way. I have my story, I have symbolism that I would include in my story, and a song. In growing that part of the family through these paintings, I have all these songs I’ve discovered through working on these, and they get the same respect that mine does. It’s just unimaginable to me years ago how impactful I would’ve been to me in my life, and the growth that I would have seen in the two years working with these families.” – Vanessa Smith, Artist for GGaV
“Working with Buzzy’s Bees has been one of the most powerful and impactful experiences I’ve had as an artist. I feel honored and blessed to be able share this process with the families and the writers. It is a gift to me to be able to use my artistic talents to capture these stories, the emotions, and the energy of these little beings in such a unique and healing way. Grief is a process AND art is a process; connecting them this way has the potential to offer new pathways in, out, and through the process of grief for the families that work with Buzzy’s Bees.” – Dianna Fontes, Artist for GGaV
About Buzzy’s Bees and Give Grief a Voice Project
Buzzy’s Bees is a Beaverton, Oregon-based non-profit that provides support to families all over the nation experiencing grief due to the unexpected loss of a young child. Since 2019 when Buzzy’s Bees created the Give Grief a Voice program, 45 bereaved families have had their stories captured by commissioned artists and professional writers.
Buzzy’s Bees brings a writer to listen to and record each family’s story, then commissions an artist to turn their words into a piece of art that the family keeps. All costs are covered by the organization through fundraising – there is no charge to the participating families.
GGaV’s primary purpose is to help families who have experienced the death of a young child, with a secondary goal to help anyone who reads these stories learn how to better support the grieving people in their own lives. Ultimately, the stories will be published alongside the artwork in a book.