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May 1, 2019
Jun 1, 2019
119 north 3rd st
5:00 pm  - 10:00 pm

Old City Jewish Art Center Exhibit - The Art of Grief and What Follows



An exhibit of the art and poetry of Tremain Smith will be featured at the Old City Jewish Art Center 119 N. 3rd Street in Philadelphia, with an opening reception on May 3, 2019, from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. It will feature her works on paper, with accompanying grief-inspired poetry that was created after the death of her mother, Susan Smith, in 2015. Tremain moved in with her mother in the last year of her mother’s life and cared for her in her home while she was on hospice. 


“I’m telling my story of love, and dying, and death, and grief, and living,” Smith said.


In describing her grief paintings, Tremain Smith said her paintings were a way to move energy. “The way I looked on it after a while was like a river and I called it the river of grief. And that was my metaphor that worked for me in this whole process. Because, I could not change what was happening. I could only go with it,” Smith said.


 “I think that grief has its own laws in a sense that we don’t have control over. So, we have to follow it. We can’t dictate how it works out, how long it takes, what we’re going to feel one day, what we’re not going to feel one day. We can’t dictate any of that,” Smith added.


This is not the first time Tremain Smith has shared some of her grief paintings. She showed eight of the paintings with their associated prose in Penn Medicine Hospice’s booth at the Chestnut Hill Fall for the Arts Festival. Tremain’s collaboration with Penn Medicine Hospice started with her enrollment in their bereavement support program and culminated in her becoming a volunteer at Penn Hospice at Rittenhouse.


The Old City exhibit will feature her grief paintings and those that also move from grief to joy. Her writing comes from journals she kept through her grieving process as well as from the two-step process of responding to paintings with writing that she currently uses.  “As I moved through the rawest grief, I began making artwork about re-engaging with my spirit. So after I finished a piece, I would write something while looking at it,” Smith explains. The exhibit documents her three-year progression through grief to healing. 


Smith will lead an art and writing workshop in conjunction with the exhibit on Sunday, May 19, 2-4 pm. There will be a closing reception with a poetry reading on Wednesday, May 29, 6-8 pm.  The exhibit will remain on view through June 1. All events are free and open to the public. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday 10-5, and Saturday & Sunday 12-5.


Tremain Smith lives in Philadelphia and is best known for her abstract encaustic art, which has been exhibited nationally, and is part of the permanent collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  


This exhibition is underwritten by Penn Medicine at Home, which includes Penn Medicine Hospice, Penn Medicine Home Health, Penn Home Palliative Care, and Penn Home Infusion Therapy.


To contact the artist, email

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