Artists Open Hearts for the Tristesse Grief Center

HONORARY ARTIST: Enjoying the art at the Open Your Heart fundraiser for the Tristesse Grief Center are, from left, Earl Denning, president of the Hillcrest Healthcare System, an event sponsor; Debbie Miller, Tristesse volunteer and event chair; Michelle Firment Reid, event honorary artist; and Joe Kelly, popular KRMG morning host and event emcee.

GTR Newspapers photo

More than 25 acclaimed artists featured their work to benefit the Tristesse Grief Center at the fifth annual Open Your Heart fundraiser at Claussen Studio and Gallery located on Cherry Street Oct. 21. The event, which raised $27,000, included a silent art auction, food from the Palace Café and live music by Steve Liddell.

“This event has a fantastic reputation of combining incredible art and wonderful festivities to support a very beneficial community service, the Tristesse Grief Center,” explains Debbie Miller, Open Your Heart chairperson. “Everyone at some point experiences a time of grief and events such as this allow the Tristesse Grief Center to offer counseling services to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay.”

The Tristesse Grief Center is a non-profit organization whose mission is to heal the grieving heart through counseling, education and support to members of the Tulsa community. It is a place where bereaved families can share feelings, celebrate the lives of their loved ones, cry and be comforted and create new lives nurtured and enriched by their memories. The Center is not affiliated with any church, hospice, hospital, funeral home or other private organization. The Center depends upon the generous support of the Tulsa community in order to offer counseling services to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay.

Joe Kelley, News Talk 740 KRMG morning host, was the honorary chair of the event. The featured artist was Chris Claussen and the honorary artist was Michelle Firment Reid. Some of the contributing artists included Margaret Aycock, Matt Beardon, Dr. Bryant Boyd, Kyle Brown, V.L. Cox, Sarah Diggdon, Kim Doner, Candace Dove, Beth Downing, Claudia Doyle, Jody Ellison, Rev. Sidney Flack, Joy Frangiosa, Jeanne Graham, LeAnn Gross, Virginia Graham, Nancy Inhofe, Judge Sam A. Joyner, Lilli Land, Laritha Lee, Erich Minton, Penny Painter, Amy Smith, Leslie Swiggart, Janice Wright and Jason Zaloudik.
The event patron sponsors included Bank of Oklahoma, Hillcrest Healthcare System, ONEOK, Inc., Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, KWB Oil Property Management, Fred Daniel & Sons, Inc. and J. Scott Dickman.

The Open Your Heart Committee included Chair Debbie Miller, Alan Aaron, Marsha Dennis, Laura Gonsalves, Lauren Landwerlin, Tishey Miller, Tyra Palmer, Michelle Firment Reid, Christy Sanders, Linda Sights and Carol Stewart.

The Tristesse Grief Center is located at 1709 S. Baltimore Ave. in Tulsa. The phone number is (918) 587-1200.

Updated 11-20-2007

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