Death Wings Project
The 2022 Puffin Foundation grant supported the visual arts components of Death Wings Project including two pilots of the community art-making offering called “Death Wings: A Hands-on Creative Ritual for Remembering and Letting Go.” The pilot workshops were co-facilitated by grantee Bess Welden and Project artist Dana Legawiec. Participants included invited community members – artists, mental health professionals, and other volunteers who donated their time to help us further develop the curriculum. With the pilot groups’ input we have now launched workshops for the public in three communities in Maine. The three-hour session is designed to guide a small group through short writing prompts that gently encourage opening up to feelings about loss and grief. Then participants create a set of mini death wings out of paper and fabric to memorialize a person, major life transition, or social issue. The workshops address a felt dearth of public rituals that not only normalize loss but actually celebrate what letting go liberates in us. The goal is to share and co-create a version of the invented end-of-life ritual from Welden’s play (also called Death Wings) by inviting others to create their own wings in community.