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Memory Boxes painted by area artists

by Joyce Hollister

Area decorative artists are invited to take part in a special outreach program for the mothers of infants who die in the hospital.

The Sierra Nevada Decorative Artists group regularly gets together to paint papier mache boxes for what is called the Memory Box Project. Items such as children’s birth certificates, crib cards, bonnets or caps, gowns, wrist bands, foot and hand prints can be placed in the boxes for parents to take home and save.

According to information on the ToleNet Memory Boxes Project Web site, the most important need bereaved parents have is an acknowledgement of their lost child’s life. Parents who have lost a child cling to the few precious moments that they shared with that child.

Sierra Nevada Decorative Artists President Loretta Graf says the project has been highly successful in the Northern Nevada-California area, and any artist who would like to participate in the project is welcome. The need for Memory Boxes is high, she said.

Member artists from Portola, Calif., to Yerington take part in group painting days. Artists may develop their own designs and paint their boxes in any way they wish.

The organization supplies Memory Boxes to Washoe Medical Center and St. Mary’s Medical Center in Reno, Carson-Tahoe Hospital in Carson City and Barton Memorial Hospital at South Lake Tahoe.

Member Lynn Cushman of the Johnson Lane area says the group supplies these hospitals first, then sends boxes to other hospitals that need them. The group began taking part in the project just over a year ago.

The project is sponsored by ToleNet, a community of decorative artists throughout the U.S. dedicated to spreading the word about the value of decorative painting.

Artists interested in the project may call Cushman at 883-5030 or check out the ToleNet Outreach Program Web site at http://www.tolenet.com/top.htm.