Sweet Grief: Paintings and Poems by Seashore Family Literacy’s Senitila McKinley and writer Drew Myron, at Newport’s VAC
Sweet Grief: Paintings & Poems on Love and Loss opens on Friday, January 4, at noon in the Upstairs Gallery. Sponsored by Oregon Coast Council for the Arts, the Opening Reception for the artists is from 5pm to 7pm. OCCA invites everyone in the community to meet the artists and enjoy refreshments.
Sweet Grief is a collaboration of 12 paintings paired with 12 poems offering a powerful range of darkness and light, from the heavy weight of loss to the bright glow of gratitude. The innovative project is the work of artist Senitila McKinley, of Waldport, and writer Drew Myron, of Yachats.
Senitila McKinley, of Waldport, is founder and director of Seashore Family Literacy, a nonprofit serving low-income and homeless youth and families. McKinley works for Lincoln County School District as an advocate for homeless students, and is an ordained deacon, serving at St Luke’s in Waldport and St. Stephen’s in Newport.
Drew Myron, of Yachats, heads a marketing communications company, and as a journalist has covered news, arts, entertainment and travel for AOL’s CityGuide, Northwest Best Places and other publications. She is a writing instructor at Seashore Family Literacy, and the creator and host of “Off the Page,” an annual event featuring Oregon writers.
Myron has written poetry to accompany the paintings by McKinley. In response to Senitila McKinley’s painting, “How to Breathe,” Myron writes, “In my lungs, the tight narrow space where breath is taken and given away I’m trying to learn something…” And Grief is beautiful, we agreed, then laughed, a painting by Senitila McKinley evokes these words from Drew Myron, “I can’t recall the sound of your voice. Still, I bring flowers and meet the sky, ask it to hold me, too.”
The show will continue through January 26. Located in the Newport Visual Arts Center, the Upstairs Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from noon to 4pm. More information about the exhibit and Oregon Coast Council for the Arts is available at www.coastarts.org, or by contacting Sally Houck at the Visual Arts Center, VAC@CoastArts.org or 541-265-6569.