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Citywide Festival Helps Families and Kids Talk About Death & End of Life

 

Taking place from October 27th to November 3rd, the Reimagine End of Life Festival will unfold not just in museums, galleries, theaters, and concert halls across New York City’s five boroughs, but also in hospitals, libraries, houses of worship, senior centers, and even cemeteries. Ancestral mask-making, Day of the Dead festivities, and a reading of the classic children’s book When Dinosaurs Die, are among the family-oriented highlights of a weeklong citywide festival created to help New Yorkers of all ages discuss and explore one of the most taboo facts of life: death.

Venues will range from St. Mark’s Church, the Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, and the Mosholu Library to the New York Open Center and Socrates Sculpture Park.

 

Activities for families and children include:

 

  • A weekend-long Day of the Dead celebration with art-making, live music, Mexican folk art, an altar for sharing photos, and more. On October 27th, Reimagine will offer a card-making workshop and distribute Memory Boxes with Spanish-language inserts. (St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery, October 26-28, 12:00pm-6:00pm)
  • The New York Public Library partners with the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore and ConnectLives for a family storytime reading of When Dinosaurs Die, a life-affirming children’s book that helps families guide kids through the process of mourning a loved one. (Mosholu Library, October 29, 3:30pm-4:30pm)
  • An afternoon of family storytelling through ancestral mask making. Young people (10 and up) and their parents/grandparents will create masks to take home with them, reflecting on those who have come before, celebrating their lives, and exploring ancestral traditions. (New York Open Center, October 28, 1:00pm-3:00pm)
  • A blessing of the animals at Socrates Sculpture Park, including non-denominational last rites (release rituals) for dying pets. Visitors are also invited to bring photos and memorabilia to add to a memorial altar for animal friends who have crossed the Rainbow Bridge. (Socrates Sculpture Park, October 27, 12:00pm-4:00pm)
  • An intergenerational family art day that will feature sensory activities and art-making exploring themes of identity, portraiture, storytelling, and family narrative. Designed for ages 1-7, activities are open-ended and child-directed — and grandparents are encouraged to attend! (Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan, October 28, 10:00am-12:00pm)
The festival is the brainchild of founder and executive director Brad Wolfe, a grandson of two Auschwitz survivors who initially began exploring death through art during college when his close friend, Sara, was diagnosed with a rare form of pediatric cancer.
For more information and to see the full calendar, visit www.letsreimagine.org/new-york

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