an artwork featured in the exhibit "The Color of Grief"

“The Color of Grief,” an exhibition set to open Tuesday, Sept. 3, in The Cole Art Center, features artwork by children who have experienced grief through the loss of a loved one.

NACOGDOCHES, Texas – The School of Art at Stephen F. Austin State University will open “The Color of Grief ” exhibition Tuesday, Sept. 3, in The Cole Art Center @ The Old Opera House in downtown Nacogdoches.

“The Color of Grief” features art created by children attending a youth grief camp through Hospice in the Pines.

“This exhibit showcases the existential and spiritual reality children experience in the loss of a loved one, such as a parent or sibling,” according to John Handley, director of SFA art galleries. “Through the expression of art, the inner truth, layers and stages of grief are revealed.”

These small paintings on canvas were created by children ages 4 through 16.

“Each work of art is a living tribute to and bridge between the land of the living and those who have transitioned beyond this life,” Handley said.

The camp and its program started as a vision and dream of social worker Jacob Thomas, director of social services at Hospice in the Pines.

“It was an idea, a vision, that was manifested so our community can have a creative dialogue about the visceral, vulnerable topic of grief and loss and how such matters lead to the inner transformations of individuals,” according to Thomas. “The expression and inner dialogue of grieving youth can be a difficult process and is not always expressed verbally; yet the dialogue that is inwardly experienced can be accessed in non-verbal ways.”

Utilizing water color paintings – brush strokes, color choices and pallets – each child expressed his/her vision, emotion and story, Thomas explained.

“We utilize methodologies such as art making, and in this case paintings, as a symbol and bridge to connect our older generations with the younger generations,” Thomas said, “and to see how the dialogue regarding topics of grief, joy, awe, wonder and loss are communicated as truths and as an alternative form of creating dialogue within our community.”

A reception for “The Color of Grief” is planned for 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, at Cole Art Center. Art exhibitions and receptions are sponsored by William Arscott, the Flower Shop, Nacogdoches Junior Forum and the Friends of the Visual Arts. For more information, call (936) 468-1131.