We are Rose River Memorial, a community art project creating a national handcrafted COVID-19 memorial. People handmake and mail red felt roses that are compiled into many community installations and eventually a national art installation. The design features one rose for every single life taken by COVID-19. It’s an audacious but important act of paying attention nationally and locally to the devastating losses of the pandemic.
The first installation, a collaboration with the iconic arts organization Self Help Graphics and Art in East Los Angeles marked Día de los Muertos by hanging almost two hundred roses, one for every death in that small pocket of Los Angeles.
Next, we hang an installation in Santa Monica in December, hosted by Building Bridges Art Exchange. This will memorialize every death on the website, and will include meditative and community-building activations as well as opportunities for people to safely visit the installation to grieve and add their devotions, and their roses.
We have had media coverage from The LA Times (CA), Curbed Magazine (NY), and The Hill (DC), among others. Our collaborators include Reimagine, Marked by COVID, The Friday Minute, the Elysian Valley Arts Collective and Frogtown Artwalk, Building Bridges Art Exchange, and Self Help Graphics and Art.
Roses have been handmade and mailed by people in California, North Carolina, Pennsylvania,New York, Washington, Oklahoma, and Arizona. We are underway but there is a long, long way to go.
If we built the memorial today it would spread over 3 acres, which is 1000 parking spaces or 32 basketball courts. To build the national installation next winter, we need more than 22,906 roses made and mailed to us every month from now until then. These numbers are growing - tragically - by many hundreds of deaths every. single. Day.
We are an unfunded bootstrap project: co-founders Marcos and Tilly volunteering along with a few collaborators. This grant would seed a larger free kit program.
Funded by Los Angeles, CA (January 2021)