Splashes of color remind grieving there is still hope

Published 11:34 am Friday, April 8, 2022

As Derek Covington Smith paints a mural as part of a grief retreat at the Mississippi School of Arts Friday, he hopes he will inspire those in pain to seek the good left in life, even after losing a loved one.

“I was just trying to do my part,” Smith said of his mural. “The kids will paint a monochromatic picture to add to the color of my mural. They can represent a happy moment from a memory of someone they lost.”

Smith said the mural shows how “we can use our grief to create things other people can enjoy.”

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MSA Counselor Harlie Blauw applied and received a grant for the second-year event billed as “a day of empowerment, connection and hope.”

The 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. grief retreat includes working in clay, painting, creative writing and yoga, with an aim to provide students a safe, supportive environment to connect with other teens, to learn coping skills and to experience hope.

Involved students received breakfast, lunch and a chance to win raffle prizes.