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'Remarkable Presence': Art exhibit honoring lives lost to COVID-19 opens in Scottsdale

remarkable presence
Posted at 4:30 AM, Sep 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-17 17:46:51-04

SCOTTSDALE, AZ — An art exhibit honoring those who've died of COVID-19 opens at the Walter Art Gallery in Scottsdale on Friday.

Jen Urso is the creator of the exhibit called 'Remarkable Presence.' ABC15 was there as she filled up the room with handmade, miniature suitcases. Each one, representing an Arizonan who has died due to the virus.

“I’m up to about 17,850," Urso said.

When Urso lost her sister Tina to cancer late last year, she says she was faced with the heartbreaking task of figuring out what to keep and what to give away.

"One of the things we went through was a suitcase," Urso said. "It made me think of everything of hers stuffed into a suitcase that when you opened it, all of these things would sort of come out of it. All of the things of her life."

While Tina didn't pass away from COVID-19, Urso says the grief is very much the same.

"I remember thinking when we couldn't have my sister's memorial because of a spike in cases, that she was going to be forgotten," Urso said. "I'm sure, positive, that's what a lot of these people are feeling and I know because some of my friends have lost family members, too."

Urso says creating the exhibit has helped her cope while honoring the lives lost throughout this global pandemic.

"Just for a few moments, let's look at this," Urso said. "Because it's hard, but it's real and it is happening and it's happening to all of us."

There will be a Collective Grieving event held at the Walter Art Gallery in Scottsdale on Friday from 6:30- 8:30 p.m. Masks are required and anyone is welcome to attend. Otherwise, due to COVID-19, the public can visit the exhibit by appointment only. There will also be events at two other locations in the Valley.

For more details, click here.