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Remembering Loss at Bergamot Station

Evelyn Tucker | The Corsair

March 17, 2021

Building Bridges Art Exchange at Bergamot Station Arts Center in Santa Monica is hosting an installation to commemorate those lost to COVID-19 in West LA. It consists of felt roses contributed by members of the community, one for each life lost.

Experiential artist Marcos Lutyens, created this "Rose River Memorial" as a tribute that offers a visual representation of the vast death toll. “This is a project of recognition, of being able to channel grief,” continued Lutyens, “but also recognition of something that wasn’t recognized for a year.”

The art installation provides a meditative space that integrates the scent of roses and soothing music composed by Yuval Ron. “This installation is pure healing for the community,” said curator and founder of Building Bridges International Art Foundation, Marisa Caichiolo.

At Lutyen’s request, Caichiolio became a “godmother” of the project and immediately submitted a grant proposal to the Santa Monica Cultural Affairs’ Art of Recovery program. The initiative was launched in November of 2020 as part of the City of Santa Monica’s Economic Recovery Task Force to support public art that focuses on public health and safety, community connectedness and restorative justice, and funding displaced artists.

The project is a crowdsourcing campaign that invites the community to make roses either at home or during a visit to the installation. A partnership with Kiwanis Family Clubs, an international service organization, has resulted with students and their families in the San Gabriel Valley sending in hundreds of handmade roses as a part of their community service project.