Metro Detroit Partners to Install COVID Healing Memorial Artwork in TCF Center

June 22, 2021

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Metro Detroit community has faced immense trauma, from the physical loss of life to loss of employment, loss of home and continued uncertainty. Through it all, the region has come together to support resident needs for not only economic or health support but emotional support as well. Collective grief is something that will be recognized in an upcoming art installation in TCF Center called “The Healing Memorial.”


“We are huge art advocates at the TCF Center,” said Karen Totaro, general manager TCF Center/ASM Global. “We’re looking forward to hosting such a creative piece that can bring healing to our community.”


The City of Detroit, Cranbrook Art Museum, TCF Center and the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy are partnering on a large-scale, hands-on public art installation that recognizes the depth of loss over the past year, such as lost loved ones, lost homes, lost jobs and lost hope. It will provide support and healing for all residents of southeastern Michigan who have experienced loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is open to people who experienced all forms of loss, including physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, occupational and environmental.


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"Covid has taken a profound toll on our region and many Detroiters and Metro Detroiters share a common grief over the loss of a loved one," said Mayor Mike Duggan. “We hope this very personal memorial will help in the healing process and serve as an opportunity for people across our region to understand and support one another. I'm grateful to our partners for helping to make the vision for this memorial a reality."


The project was conceived by world-renowned and Cranbrook-educated artist Sonya Clark and curated by Laura Mott, senior curator of Contemporary Art and Design, of Cranbrook Art Museum, as an interpretation of her Beaded Prayer exhibit, which has traveled the world for more than a decade.


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"At the heart of this project is the power of people coming together to offer something seemingly small but ultimately powerful and wholly collective,” Clark said. “Each prayer is the seed of a person's intent and memory. Together we make a garden of our humanity, an ecosystem providing sustenance and succor."


For this project, residents will be encouraged to create small memorial pouch (fits in the palm of the hand) using fabric from their loved ones or donated material. These fabric pouch will be gathered by the thousands to create a tapestry of memories to be displayed at the TCF Center downtown. 


Throughout the summer of 2021, making stations will be set up at various community events, churches, day camps, shops and along the Dequindre Cut to give all residents across metro Detroit an opportunity to contribute to this collective memorial. The completed work will be unveiled in TCF Center on the City of Detroit’s official COVID Memorial Day – Aug. 31


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