Mother’s COVID death inspires Detroit woman to create ‘healing’ art space

Womxnhouse Detroit gallery features art designed by women inside neighborhood home

After her mother died from COVID-19, one Detroit woman decided to use her childhood home as a space for women to create art freely as a tool for healing.

DETROIT – After losing her mother to COVID-19, a Detroit woman decided to honor her mother’s life by creating a community art space in their family home.

Asia Hamilton’s mother, Ellen, contracted COVID back in April and unfortunately died one month later. Hamilton ended up getting sick, too, while caring for her mother.

Grateful that she got her health back, Hamilton felt inspired to embrace life, and wanted to provide a space for people to create and showcase their art.

“COVID really put into perspective the (fragility) of life,” Hamilton said. “My mom passing really kind of pushed me into a space where I look at life more as a temporary space, and you want to prepare something for the next generation and for the people that come behind you.”

Instead of letting go of her childhood home on St. Mary’s Street on Detroit’s west side, Hamilton chose to turn the 1,600 square foot house into an art gallery, now called Womxnhouse Detroit.

“I decided that this would be a great opportunity to use this space to just encourage other women artists ... and other women who need a space to create freely and from their heart,” Hamilton said. “A lot of women in the house ... we’ve gone through similar things.”

All of the art in the home is made by women, many of them touched by COVID in some way. All of their work is inspired by healing.

“A lot of that spirit is in this house,” Hamilton said. “(I wanted) to be able to make my mom proud, but also have a space for my nieces or nephews, or the kids on the block to come see after me.

“Growing up as a kid, you’re told to be a teacher, or a lawyer, or a doctor, and these are ... great professions -- but there wasn’t really any space for artists,” Hamilton said. “I did’t know any artists on my block, so I wanted this to be a place where the kids could say, ‘Oh, that’s the art. The art was on St. Mary’s and it was right here in the neighborhood.’”

Hamilton says she’s proud that the artists have used every nook and cranny of the house to create art. Some of the women are now also living in the home and using it as a studio to work.

She says creating art in the time of COVID is a beautiful silver lining.

Watch the full report in the video above.

The Womxnhouse Detroit exhibition is open until Oct. 31. Visit their website here for the latest information.

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About the Authors:

Cassidy Johncox is a senior digital news editor covering stories across the spectrum, with a special focus on politics and community issues.