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Innovative course helps bereaved parents through art

March 20th, 2017

Parenting is hard, especially in the face of loss. When you lose a baby, no matter the gestational week or age the child may have been, the feelings can be hard to process. It is draining to ask the “Why” questions over and over without breakthrough. Bereaved mother, Alexis Marie Chute, struggled for a long time. That is, until she began getting creative with her grief. That was the time she discovered art, writing, dance, music – all the arts – as amazing tools to break out of the sadness and remember her son, Zachary, in a healthy and celebratory way.

Now, Chute teaches a class called Healing Art for Mourning Parents, which takes place at South Pointe Community Centre in Edmonton as a part of their Wellness Project. Chute, who is an award-winning artist and author, welcomes bereaved parents into a safe environment where they can share their stories and make art. “Creativity is like a breath of fresh air if you are grieving. It was the way I found peace and regained hope after Zachary died in my arms at birth in 2010. I am passionate about helping others,” says Chute.

The course takes place on four consecutive weeks with projects that build on each other. In the first session, participants use creative writing to look at their grief from different angles and uncover their own “unique healing vocabulary,” as Chute calls it. Week two sees the participants using their writing from the previous week as a jumping off point for creating meaningful and symbolic collages. Week three focuses on painting, both from life and abstract, as a creative outlet for mourning. In the final session, participants work with clay, discovering the healing freedom of explorative play and getting dirty.

Healing Arts for Mourning Parents gives participants the opportunity to create treasured keepsakes. In an experience where so much is taken from parents, including the future they had envisioned for their family, this course is guaranteed to make a lasting impact.

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Alexis Marie Chute is an award-winning writer, artist and filmmaker and has set herself apart for her bereavement advocacy. She is a leading expert in creativity and healing. She has become an advocate in supporting and educating others on how to process their grief in creative and authentic ways, promoting healing through the arts and sharing stories in community. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting and photography from the University of Alberta, and her Masters of Fine Arts in creative writing from Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Chute is a highly regarded public speaker and has traveled around the world presenting on art, writing, and the healing capacities of creativity.  Her documentary film, also called Expecting Sunshine, subtitled, “The truth about pregnancy after loss” follows her second pregnancy after loss. She is widely published in anthologies and magazines, and her artwork has been exhibited internationally with critical acclaim. She lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with her husband and their three living children. 

Expecting Sunshine: A Journey of Grief, Healing and Pregnancy After Loss will be available on April 2017 through She Writes Press wherever books are sold. Learn more about her book and documentary, Expecting Sunshine: The Truth About Pregnancy After Loss, at

Connect with Alexis Marie Chute on FacebookLinkedIn TwitterInstagramPinterestTumblrYouTube, and at, and

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