COVID-19 presents a unique challenge, among natural disasters, to human culture. Loss is experienced on numerous levels, and it is ongoing.  It is not geographically specific, and so there is no ‘getting out’ of the affected area to recuperate and heal.  As it takes an enormous toll in human life, it also prevents us from gathering together to mourn, interrupting rituals of grieving across all cultures.

A response to the COVID-19 pandemic, The ARTISTS’ GRIEF DECK is a set of 60 medium format ‘flashcards’ that are individually designed by artists, sometimes in collaboration with grief workers. One side displays an original artwork, created by artists from around the world responding to our open call, and on the reverse is a ‘grieving prompt.’  These are memorial and processual actions that give the individual something to do – a gesture, a tiny performance, a movement, an act of mindfulness – in memoriam for someone or something whose loss they are grieving. As a toolkit, the decks have been disbursed for free to grief workers and community organizations, and can be purchased here.

In addition to serving as an archive of the printed deck, this project website also serves as an expanding repository for grief-inspired artwork and healing, transformative action. Please consider submitting something of your talent or experience.

The Artists’ Grief Deck is a project of the Artists’ Literacies Institute (producer) and Adriene Jenik (creative producer), and was made possible by The Ohio’s Hospice/ National Hospice Cooperative (executive producer), Daniel Abary (Deck and Web Design), the artists and grief workers who contributed their talent and wisdom, and all of our Kickstarter donors.  Site by Connor Hubeny.

You can also get your own copy of the printed Grief Deck here, while supplies last.

A painting of a Black woman's bust against a field of pink flowers. She has her eyes closed and is weeping.