Abraham Mignon, Netherlands, 1640–1679, Still Life with Fruits, Foliage and Insects, 1669, Oil on canvas, Gift of Bruce B. Dayton, 87.4

SOLD-OUT-Convening: An Artful Death

“It is necessary to meditate early, and often, on the art of dying to succeed later in  doing it properly just once.”Umberto Eco, The Island of the Day Before

What if, instead of fearing death, we worked to embrace one of life’s most important transitions? How might that change how we live right now and how we live until we die Mia is partnering with Pathways and the Bruce Kramer Collaborative to present a day of programs that will use the lens of art to explore living and dying well and how death is experienced. Tours of art in the museum’s collection combine with guided sessions that include music, body movement, opportunities to create your own art, storytelling, and meditation to encourage the concept of befriending death and dying. To spark the conversation, there will be a keynote talk by Caitlin Doughty, author, art historian, and mortician known for her work in the death acceptance movement.

Presenters: Caitlin Doughty with Cathy Wurzer

Registration opens 11 AM
Fountain Court

Bring your ticket confirming your registration for the program to the Fountain Court to exchange for tickets to Keynote, Convening and breakout sessions.

Welcome & Guided Meditation – 11:30 AM
Pillsbury Auditorium

Break Out Sessions & Other Activities:
Tickets for break-out sessions are available only on day of event in the Fountain Court.  Space is limited.

Befriending Death – Noon & 1:15 PM
Kyoko Katayama
Villa Rosa

Weaving stories, experiential exercises, and guided meditation, we will familiarize ourselves with our fears, hopes, and possibilities about death. Seeing it, our fears are demystified and we get in touch with what really matters to us about how to live.

Writing the Denouement – Noon & 1:15 PM
Museum guide Michelle Byfield Angell with Pathways provider: Jeanne Bain
Museum guide Leslie Bush with Pathways provider Maria Signorelli
Group gathers in Museum Rotunda then moves to the galleries.

We will be looking at works of art on the subject of death and the transience of life. Session participants will choose one work to examine, allow it to speak to them in some way, then will be encouraged to write from the voice of the shape or character within the work of art focusing on the theme of death, grief or related endings. In turn, this will deepen their experience with the art from a self-generated prompt around their own experience of death and transition.

Forgiveness at Dying Time: The Doorway to Freedom – Noon & 1:15 PM
Patricia Brenneman
Friends Community Room

Forgiveness is an essential practice for well-being and healing of every kind – mental, emotional, physical and spiritual. It is a powerful and transformational tool for life. Death is a part of everyone’s life and a pivotal time for forgiveness to have its healing way. In this experiential session we will explore forgiveness- forgiveness toward others, toward self, toward the universe, toward the body- through the use of meditation and a contemplative practice of choosing miniature figures to symbolize and give voice to our inner and outer experiences. Finally, we will engage in a ritual designed to support and facilitate the unfolding of forgiveness in our lives.

Moving Altars Project: The Body as Witness – Noon & 1:15 PM
Erica Nelson
Wells Fargo Community Room

This is an experiential session in which the audience is introduced to their own bodies as moving altars – sacred places where the visible and invisible worlds meet. Together we will experience, through the movement of our bodies, how we can honor the dead (beloved ancestors, artists etc.) with an offering of inspired music and body as witness.

Dia de los Muertos – Noon & 1:15 PM
Dr. J. Ernesto Ortiz-Díaz
Studios 111-113

Join Dr. J. Ernesto Ortiz-Díaz, Associate Professor in the Department of Spanish & Portuguese and the Program of Latin American Studies at Macalester, to learn about Mexican cultural traditions around Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in this interactive talk and workshop.

Guided Tour I – Noon

Guided Tour II – Noon

Guided Tour III -1:15

Guided Tour IV – 1:15

Museum Guides
Group gathers in Museum Rotunda then moves to the galleries.

Join a Mia Docent on a guided tour to explore how various cultures have represented, dealt with, and addressed death and the surrounding rituals with and through visual art.

Reflecting and Remembering – Noon to 2:15 PM
Villa Rosa

A drop-in center with a series of creative opportunities to draw, write, journal or create a reflection or remembrance about living well or dying well. Sheila Asato will assist those who would like to make a “bag book,” paper books with pockets to allow for private messages as well as pages that can be read by anyone. Stay as long or as short as you wish.

Keynote Address, The Corpse as Comfort: Art From Medieval to Modern – 2:30 PM
Caitlin Doughty
Pillsbury Auditorium

Most Americans in the 21st century would describe the image of a dead body as horrific, shocking, grotesque. But in the Middle Ages, viewers were given a visual vocabulary to see the dead body as a lesson, a warning, even a hopeful sign. We will re-visit this art, and examine modern artists attempting to use the dead body in their work for reasons that go far beyond titillation.

A Community Convening – 3:30 PM
Cathy Wurzer with Caitlin Doughty
Pillsbury Auditorium

This event, held in the Pillsbury Auditorium, is a condensed version of a statewide community based initiative called The Convenings. In cities from Ely to Luverne, MPR News journalist Cathy Wurzer hosts or convenes, evening events that use music, readings and conversation to spark reflection on what it means to live with well-being now, through illness and disability, until we die.

Booksigning 4:30 PM
Cathy Wurzer with Caitlin Doughty
The Shop

SOLD OUT – unticketed overflow seating will be available for Cathy Wurzer and Caitlin Doughty’s presentations from 2:30-4:30. No reservations, open seating.

Abraham Mignon, Netherlands, 1640–1679, Still Life with Fruits, Foliage and Insects, 1669, Oil on canvas, Gift of Bruce B. Dayton, 87.4