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Rose River Memorial makes its way to Garden Grove

Sacristan Vicky Dinh assists Diocese of Orange County Bishop Kevin Vann
Diocese of Orange County Bishop Kevin Vann, right, assisted by Sacristan Vicky Dinh, offers blessings for the Rose River Memorial during the opening day ceremony on Tuesday at the Cultural Center of the Christ Cathedral campus.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

The traveling art installation commemorating hundreds of thousands of lives lost to COVID-19 made its way into Garden Grove.

Last year artist Marcos Lutyens had an idea for a tribute to victims of the pandemic in the form of red felt roses. The result was the Rose River Memorial. It’s one of many memorial exhibits of the same installation that have appeared at the Orange County Museum of Art, Santa Monica, East Los Angeles and the Hollywood Forever Cemetery.

“There was a lot of fear and anxiety and this kind of feeling Western civilization was collapsing,” Lutyens told the Daily Pilot at the OCMA installation opening. “It started dawning on me that this wasn’t going away and that we need to memorialize this.”

Artist Marcos Lutyens speaks
Artist Marcos Lutyens speaks after being recognized with the City of Garden Grove Proclamation, held up by Julie Diep, left, director of the OC Autism Foundation, during the Rose River Memorial opening day ceremony on Tuesday at the Cultural Center of the Christ Cathedral campus.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

Julie Diep, director of the Orange County Autism Foundation, saw the installation and thought it would be a great idea to bring it into Garden Grove.

“There’s so much division in our community with our belief systems, politics or whatever the reason may be, but we are so united in our grief and more importantly we need to be united in the healing,” said Diep.

The foundation sponsored the installation, which was blessed by Bishop Kevin Vann at the opening on Tuesday afternoon at Christ Cathedral Cultural Center. The memorial will be on display at the church’s Small Gallery until June 30. It features 4,600 roses along with stories and photos of those who died from COVID-19.

“When people heal, they go to medical professionals or their counselors,” said Diep. “But their spiritual guides are also a huge part of the process. That’s why we decided to partner up with the Christ Cathedral.”

The installation is scheduled to make its way to Washington D.C. to be part of a larger display for National COVID Memorial Day in March 2022.

The Rose River Memorial
The Rose River Memorial, a traveling art exhibit commemorating Orange County’s collective loss of life due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is set up at the world-famous Christ Cathedral from March 23 to June 30.
(Kevin Chang / Staff Photographer)

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