McGee Memorial Chapel Displays Art Created By Kids Coping With Death

Editor | - October 16, 2012

"Pictures tell stories about unforgettable kids who found strength In each other and through art"

From McGee Memorial Chapel press materials...

McGee Memorial Chapel in Santa Fe has installed a special exhibit of artwork created by kids who found their voice by using their hands in a unique art centered, griefcounseling program. Gerard’s House, a Santa Fe non-profit designed this innovative program specifically for kids and now the community is invited to see these moving and inspiring works.

When Melissa was just 13 years old, her world came crashing around her with the unexpected death of her mother. Sadly, children are often the overlooked survivors when a loved one dies. They’re also the least able to cope with the loss. “It felt like I lost everything the minute my mother died,” she recalled. But a unique art-centric program for kids at Gerard’s House helped Melissa express herself and come to terms with the tragedy. 

Russ Harman, managing partner at McGee Memorial Chapel, was moved by the ability of these kids to overcome their circumstances. “I’ve seen the amazing work Gerard’s House is doing. Their mission aligns perfectly with ours. It’s an important service that incorporates new thinking about how to memorialize a loved one. And that’s how McGee views our service to the community.” 

Today, as a wiser 16-year old, Melissa described her experience at Gerard’s House: “I went there with other kids who had the same experience. We communicated with each other through our art and our writing, by talking and by being together. They listen but they don’t judge you.”

Kids who attend this one-of-a-kind program in New Mexico are grouped with others close in age. They talk, work on art projects and other activities that teach them about grieving, how to process their feelings and most importantly, to just let them be who they are. Katrina Koehler, executive director of Gerard’s House notes, “Bereaved kids need a place to grieve; they need acceptance and support. Art activities give them a way to bring something out and say, in effect, ‘this is how I feel,’ or ‘this is what’s important to me.” Gerard’s House programs for kids are completely free and to date they have helped more than 3,200 children and teens face the most difficult circumstances.

The exhibition at McGee Memorial Chapel features framed paintings and drawings by kids from 8 to 16 years old. McGee cordially invites the community to visit the exhibition, learn more about Gerard’s House and to tour McGee’s newly renovated chapel and community room. For times and more information about the Gerard’s House exhibition call McGee Memorial Chapel at (505) 983-9151. 

McGee Memorial Chapel aims to provide compassionate and uniquely personal funeral services in Santa Fe and northern New Mexico. For Nearly 70 years, McGee has built a reputation for care, trust and integrity by assisting thousands of families. In today’s more dynamic, interconnected world, McGee has the ability to provide more personalized, non-traditional and non-denominational services that memorialize loved ones in more meaningful ways. For more information visit

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