Saturday, 20 April 2013

First Lyons, Colorado Death Café and Art Salon during Lyons Art Weekend

During the Lyons Art Weekend, June 7-9, 2013, Death Café and Art Salon will be open Sunday June 9th between the hours of 12:30 p.m. and 5 pm at the Lyons Yoga and Wellness Center, 310 Main Street, Lyons, Colorado, U.S.A. Visitors to the Death Café and Art Salon will spend time in a nurturing and open environment to talk about the art of death (or the death of art), and to explore resulting feelings and images through a process of creative uncovery. 

Visitors will be free to discuss topics of life and death from many points of view. Paper and art supplies will be provided for those wishing to explore their thoughts and feelings visually. Refreshments will be available mid-afternoon, at which point the discussion may shift gears into how we want to spend the rest of our finite time here on planet Earth. Death Café and Art Salon is free and open to all ages, but may not be appropriate for anyone currently in the middle of the “white heat of bereavement.”

The Lyons Death Café and Art Salon is for folks who may not have thought very much about death or even know how they feel about it. What might it be like to think and talk about death openly amidst a group of strangers? Don’t worry. Using the medium of line, shape, form, and color, participants at Death Café and Art Salon will also have an opportunity to uncover deeper emotions that may be difficult or impossible to put into words. However, no one really knows what will happen at the first Lyons Death Café and Art Salon. As Dylan put it, “But it’s alright, Ma, it’s life and life only.”

At Death Café and Art Salon, you will be entering a creative and supportive space, but life and death is still a mystery and there are no guarantees except one: Everybody dies. But if you don’t take care of your body, where will you live? And as Dylan reminds us all, “….he who is not busy being born is busy dying.”

Lyons Death Café and Art Salon will be offered on a not-for-profit basis, with a suggested donation of $5 to $10 to cover the costs of space, refreshments, and supplies and to fund the next Death Café and Art Salon. Death Café and Art Salon will be facilitated by local artist Phyllis J. O’Rourke, M.A., a member-affiliate of the social franchise and global movement known as “Death Café” and co-author with Sally King of the book of poems, “Nobody’s Afraid of the Dark during the Day.” O’Rourke, a graduate of Goddard College, has been a member of the Lyons Depot Library Art-4-Art Artist Trading Card group since 2004 and is the founding member of a local artist support group that has been meeting weekly for over twenty-five years. More information about Death Café affiliation can be found at: You may also visit the artist’s website at:

Email inquiries about Death Café and Art Salon can be sent to Damaris @ For Snail Mail inquiries, send a self-addressed stamped envelope to: Death Café and Art Salon, c/o The Gutter Artist, P.O. Box 892, Lyons, CO 80540. Please provide your name, P.O. address, phone number, email address, and the reason for your interest in Death Café and Art Salon. Donations to help fund the next Death Café and Art Salon will be gratefully accepted.

Death Café is the brain child of Jon Underwood, a man who wanted to challenge and improve attitudes toward death. According to Underwood, the objective of Death Café is “To increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives.”

“Our only belief,” Underwood notes, “is that it is useful to reflect on death for some people at some time. As such, it is absolutely against our principles to attempt to lead participants towards any conclusions about life, death or the afterlife apart from their own.” Underwood credits the Swiss sociologist, Bernard Crettaz, for giving him the idea for Death Café and upon whose ideas he has been building since the first Death Café was held in London in 2011. Death Café spread to the United States through the work of Lizzy Miles.

Death Cafés are usually held in an accessible, respectful, confidential, and nurturing space, where people can express their views safely, free of discrimination, free of judgment, free from ideology, regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation, religion, faith, ethnicity or disability.

“Our society doesn’t make it easy for people to talk about death,” Underwood says. “And in fact, not everyone should talk about death. There may well be people for whom it is not helpful to focus on death at any particular time.” Though of course everyone is welcome at a Death Café, the venue may not be appropriate for anyone who is immediately dying, has recently been diagnosed with a potentially fatal malady, has a friend or relative who may be close to death, or who may have recently experienced the death of a loved one.


  1. This is brilliant! Thanks for sharing your ideas!
    Wendy Kurchak
    Calgary Death Cafe

    1. Hi Wendy, I've checked out your blogs and am so impressed with the work you are doing. I guess I would have to classify myself as a Death Amateur. Clearly, I am going to learn a lot in the next month before the event. I love the poster with the Grim Reaper and Toombstone, "Relax; I'm only here for the cake."
      Damaris, The Gutter Artist


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