Stephanie Paige Cole: five.
During the month of January, Mulberry Art Studios will host an exhibition entitled five, which was created by artist and author Stephanie Paige Cole and consists of her own paintings and writings along with pieces from several other artists from across the world. five opens on First Friday, January 6, and will be exhibited throughout the month of January. An artist reception, complete with live music, light refreshments and a poetry reading, will be held from 1pm until 4pm on Sunday, January 15. The reception is free and open to the community, donations to Sweet Pea Project will be accepted. The exhibit is also available during regular gallery hours, weekdays from 10am until 4pm with evenings and weekends available upon request. For more information and directions to the gallery, please visit http://www.mulberryartstudios.com/.
five deals with a subject that is often considered to be unspeakable: the death of a baby. Cole's firstborn child, her daughter Madeline, died in January of 2007 and would have turned five years old on January 5th, the day before this exhibit opens. Cole relied on her creativity to navigate her way through the darkness that descended upon her after Madeline's death, and she has returned to explore that again with this exhibit. The artwork of five. is honest, raw and unexpectedly beautiful. There is sadness in these canvases, but there is also undeniable hope and life and love in each brush stroke.
Along with newer work, Cole has included pieces she created during the first few months of grief, many of which were part of her August 2007 exhibit Beauty In The Breakdown and were later published in her book Still. Cole invited artists from across the world to add their voice to the chorus of artwork and writings in this exhibition, and received pieces from internationally respected artists and authors such as Kara Jones, Joanne Cacciatore, Sherokee Ilse, Laura Seftel, Angie Yingst, Janel Atlas, Catherine Bayly, Carly Dudley and more.
Individuals who have experienced the death of a child, whether it was during pregnancy, infancy, adolencense or even adulthood, will undoubtedly find themselves connecting with the pieces in this collection. Those who have not experienced it for themselves may find their eyes opened a bit after walking through the space. "There is something about artwork and poetry that allows you to express things that can be difficult to explain in a conversation" says Cole. "And there is something about being able to stop and look at something quietly, in your own time and on your own terms, that makes it a little less uncomfortable."
Stephanie Paige Cole is the founder and president of Sweet Pea Project, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in Lancaster, which offers comfort, support and gentle guidance to families who have experienced the death of a baby. Her book, Still: a collection of honest artwork & writings from the heart of a grieving mother, was published in 2010 and quickly became a must read for parents who lost a child as well as the medical professionals who care for them. Cole is also the proud mother of four. She currently lives in Lancaster County with her husband and three sons.
For more information please visit www.sweetpeaproject.org/five.