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"Hope Lives On" art exhibition features work of grieving children

On view March 11 through April 8 at Sweetwater Center for the Arts, Sewickley, Pennsylvania

PITTSBURGH (March 9, 2017) — "HOPE Lives On" is the theme of an art exhibition featuring works of art created by children and adolescents, ages 3 to 17, from the Highmark Caring Place, A Center for Grieving Children, Adolescents and Their Families. There are 65 works of art in the show including drawings, paintings, sculpture, and textile art. The show opens at the Sweetwate Center for the Arts in Sewickley, Pennsylvania on Saturday, March 11 and will be on view through April 8, 2017.

HOPE art

HOPE, Addison; age 8

The media is invited to the opening night reception on March 11 from 5-7 p.m. Many of the young artists will be present for interviews about their work.

Color is a key theme that emerges in the show. "I made this because I think hope means you should believe in life. Life is filled with many colors and flowers," said Addison, age 8, describing the inspiration behind her piece titled HOPE. "Before I found hope, I was sad and grey, but after I found it, my world was colorful," echoed Marlo, age 10. Her drawing, Look for Hope, features a face with one eye gray and the second eye full of color, as grief gives way to hope. Walk Through Hope, by Victoria, age 14, shows a figure emerging from monochrome onto a path bright with color.

Meaning is found in the artists' choice of materials as well as color, as demonstrated in Angelina's Nail Art Heart. "This painting was created in memory of my sister Corrina Payge Layne," explained Angelina, age 10. "When Corrina was alive, she loved doing nails. Especially my nails! She was really good at it. This painting was created with Corrina's nail polish. The crystals were for doing nails also. I used them in my art to remember her."

Michael, age 11, titled his work Origami Rebellion. The hand-made figures are clearly characters from Star Wars. However, the meaning is much deeper. "Han Solo reminds me of my Dad when he showed me…a toy light saber to spin it. My hands were too small," Michael wrote for the wall label.

"When there are no words to express how one feels, these feelings can be expressed in colors, shapes, and images," explained Krista Ball, MS, ATR-BC, CT, a board certified art therapist who is program manager at the Highmark Caring Place's Warrandale location. "Through art, children and teens can begin to explore tough questions that they may not yet be ready to talk about."

The Highmark Caring Place provides peer support to grieving children from birth to 18 years of age along with their families. The artwork displayed in the show was made by children, and in some cases their families and Caring Place volunteers, at both the Warrandale and Pittsburgh locations. The exhibition also includes the Illuminating HOPE installation piece consisting of over 6,000 butterflies. Each was handmade at Allegheny Health Network (AHN) hospitals and Highmark Caring Place centers throughout Pennsylvania. Many are personalized with the name of someone who has died or with a message of hope for a grieving child.

"By providing these children with a place to share their emotions through art, we teach them that it's OK to feel and to share that publicly," said Nichole Remmert, executive director at Sweetwater. "This exhibition also provides adults and children dealing with complicated emotions — whether they are the result of profound grief or another experience — a starting point to perhaps use art to process their own feelings. We are honored and privileged to be part of creating this dialogue."

Visitor Information

Sweetwater Center for the Arts | 412-741-4405
200 Broad Street| Sewickley, PA
Hours: 9:00 am – 4:30 pm M-F | 10:00 am - 5:00 pm weekends

About the Sweetwater Center for the Arts

The Sweetwater Center for the Arts was established in 1975 to provide opportunities to create and experience art. Its mission is to enrich the lives of children and adults by providing excellence in arts education including classes in the visual, performing, literary, and culinary arts. Performances, exhibitions, lectures, demonstrations, and cultural programming are also part of the Center's mission.

About the Highmark Caring Place

The mission of the Highmark Caring Place, A Center for Grieving Children, Adolescents and Their Families, is to raise awareness of the needs of grieving children, provide programs to address those needs, and empower the community to support children who have experienced the death of a loved one. Since its inception in 1996, the Caring Place has served more than 90,000 family and community members. Financial support from Highmark Inc. allows the Caring Place, with facilities in Lemoyne, Erie, Pittsburgh and Warrendale, Pennsylvania to offer its programs at no cost to the families and the community. Please visit


Wendy Morphew
Highmark Media Relations
412-544-3616 (office)
917-697-1782 (cell)