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Welcome to the Sonoma County Gazette ARCHIVE of PAST EDITIONS. Our NEW WEBSITE is up and running, so GazExtra is serving as your path to archived articles. Thanks for being part of our Sonoma County community...stay in touch...e-mail me - VESTA

Sunday, September 14, 2008

International Artists Honor Life...and Death

We treasure our loved ones while they are alive and find our own ways to honor them when their bodies die. For some, scattering ashes in ceremony provides solace - Dust to Dust. For others creating a vessel to hold our loved ones remains honors their life. Artists from across the planet who have created urns for the ashes of those we love will display their works at Funeria in Graton starting September 27, 2008

4th International Funerary Art Exhibition
Opens in Graton at
Art Honors Life® | The Gallery at FUNERIA

Ashes to Art® | scattered installations include award-winning work from a British designer, a short film of a Viking funeral by West County artist Rik Olson and 80 original artist-made urns, vessels and reliquaries in all media

More than 80 original personal memorial artworks by 64 sculptors, potters, woodworkers, gold and metalsmiths, stone carvers, mosaic and glass artists and others working in media as diverse as cut paper and computer-generated 3D forms will be featured during the 4th biennial “Ashes to Art | scattered” exhibition at Art Honors Life, The Gallery at FUNERIA, September 27-November 30, 2008, 2860 Bowen St. #1, Graton, CA 95444. An artists opening and awards reception is being held September 26, 6-8 PM. Exhibition admission is free. Guests are asked to RSVP for the opening reception at or by calling 707 829 1966. During the exhibition, the gallery will be open Wednesday through Saturday, Noon-5 PM and by appointment.

The unique art objects featured in the exhibition are intended to contain all, or some portion, of an individual’s cremated remains—either permanently for keeping at home, placement in a columbarium niche, burial, or temporarily prior to scattering or other dispersal. Some artworks are designed to be shared by companions. Also featured are a greater number of urns created for pets than in previous exhibitions. It is the first time that this seminal exhibition is opening in Sonoma County since its 2001 debut at San Francisco’s historic Fort Mason Center. Ashes to Art exhibitions have also opened in Philadelphia, and portions have toured at Onishi Gallery in New York’s Chelsea arts district and at Le Bourget in Paris.

Two special installations at this exhibition include several designs by young British product designer Nadine Jarvis ( in her American debut and one short poignant film by Sebastopol, California artist Rik Olson. Olson built a wooden boat for his father’s and brother’s ashes in order to enact a Viking funeral with his family as co-participants in July 2008. Both artists’ imaginative and beautifully executed concepts address the increasingly favored process of ash scattering. More than 40% of survey respondents who are considering cremation for themselves would like their ashes scattered, mostly in water. More than 60% of all California residents, and the populations of most western states, are choosing cremation for themselves and their loved ones. The choice of cremation throughout the US is expected to grow from 32% of all deceased currently, to more than 50% by 2025, and perhaps sooner.

Ashes to Art is presented by Northern California-based FUNERIA, a unique arts agency and exhibition organizer that promotes and sells original artist-made urns and personal memorial artwork through wholesale and retail channels worldwide. The Graton installation of the show is also made possible through the generous support of Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary (—the most prestigious Jewish cemetery in Southern California with a rich tradition of serving all Jewish families and particularly those who are among the most well-known and beloved writers, producers and performers in the entertainment industry, as well as respected arts advocates, political figures and philanthropists.

On January 18, 2007, preceding its first Open House, FUNERIA, its artists and clients were featured in The New York Times in an article by Patricia Leigh Brown who cited Art Honors Life as “the nation’s first art gallery dedicated to cremation urns and personal memorial art.” Maureen Lomasney, FUNERIA’s founder and president who organized the first Ashes to Art competition with the help of two friends and many volunteers in 2001 has been a Sonoma County resident for 19 years, and is a writer, designer, fine arts photographer and the gallery’s director. In 1992, she founded Tannery Creek Press, which introduced “Sonoma Skyscrapers”—a locally printed poster and photo essay in black and white of three icons in the rural landscape.

For further information about the exhibition, opening reception or additional sponsorship opportunities, call 707 829 1966 or email