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VNA Plans Art-Grief Workshop

A clay mask created in an "art and grief" workshop sponsored by Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice. Photograph courtesy of Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice.

A clay mask created in an "art and grief" workshop sponsored by Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice. Photograph courtesy of Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice.

New London — A recent “art and grief” workshop hosted by Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice generated a series of colorful clay masks. It also advanced the healing process, organizers say.

Combining art and bereavement provides an additional, tangible outlet for expression, said Debra Dumond, the nonprofit’s bereavement coordinator. “It’s like, ‘My grief is real. This is what it looks like.’”

The class was designed to create a safe environment for exploring issues around death and dying. Participants in the process of grieving “a significant loss” created “grief masks” to express their feelings.

“When that creative side of the brain starts working, it really helps people to get in touch with the emotion,” Dumond said. “One of the people who made a mask said it was like an exorcism.”

The workshop leaders, including Dumond and local artist Chris Bowditch, have been invited to present at an upcoming conference on arts and health care. The event, sponsored by New Hampshire State Council on the Arts and Concord Hospital, is set for June 7 and 8.

A second art and grief workshop offered in June by Lake Sunapee Region VNA & Hospice will use a different art form, Dumond said. For more information, contact her at 603-526-4077.