“Tears represent not only feeling but also lens through which we gain an alternate vision.-Clarissa Pinkola Estés, Ph.d., Women Who Run with the Wolves

A group exhibition curated by Nanci Hersh with selected work from her Waterfall Series, the inspiration behind the Chapel of Tears exhibition and project at the Chris White Gallery, Wilmington, DE

  • Opening Reception:
    • Friday, March 31, 2023, 5:00 – 9:00 pm
  • Wilmington Art Loop Reception:
    • Friday, April 14, 2023, 5:00 – 9:00 pm
  •  The Art of Compassion Workshop-Community Conversation and Mixed media art making: 
    • Saturday, April 15, 2023, 1-3 pm *
  •  Closing Reception: 
    • Friday, May 5, 2023, 5-9 pm

Events are free and open to the public. *Participants must pre-register for The Art of Compassion Workshop on 4/15/23.

Who: 25 artists from United Kingdom, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Germany, and throughout the United States

What: Printmaking, ceramics, collage, textile, photography, video, poetry, and other mixed media works of art

Where: Chris White Gallery, 701 N. Shipley Street, Wilmington, DE 19801

The art that is on display at the exhibition will be available for purchase.

Participating Artists

Jen Abbott-Tillou | Bianca Artopé | Abigail Brown | Elizabeth CoffeyMarcela Crosman  |  Misia Denéa | Jane Dulay | Lynnae Duley | Nanci Hersh | Teri HoggardNadira Husain  |  Laurette Kovary | Danielle Krysa | Susan Lerner | JaQuanne LeRoy  | Diana LoboAlexis Mixter | Maryanne McGuire | Krissy Mosley | Suzanne Ofeldt | Amy Putman | Eliot Spaulding  | Bonhui Uy/Deb NehmadCarolina Vallejo

Chapel of Tears stems from reflections on our current state of being and considers how we can create community amid divisiveness, senseless loss, transition, and uncertainty. The intention is to cast a wide net to explore tears symbolically as a lens to gain alternate visions to foster compassion, empathy, and understanding.

Jen Abbott-Tillou, Ban, 2023, Repurposed tools, acrylic sphere

Throughout the world over the past 3 years, we have all experienced the loss of predictability, mobility, freedom, normalcy, and for so many, of loved ones. This project offers the creative act as a ritual in that it provides a structure for honoring where we’ve been, acknowledging where we are now, and exploring the following questions:

  • How can we hold space for grief and loss, as well as joy, anger, or frustration as we transition or begin to emerge from a global pandemic?
  • How can memory or the act of remembering be a catalyst for healing?
  • How do rituals, customs, and traditions provide pathways for building community and healing?
  • How can we hold space for our feelings, emotions, and memories transforming them into vessels of beauty and tranquility?

Many, if not most, of the invited artists Nanci met through a summer course she attended in August 2022.  The course titled Contemporary Art. Framework to Develop your Ideas was presented by the European Cultural Academy in Venice, Italy.

Chapel of Tears is the result of this coursework and is intended to evolve and expand. For example, Nanci recently partnered with Shavasana hOMe, a yoga studio in Kennett Square, PA to offer community art and yoga workshops on two different occasions. Participants enjoyed a relaxing, restorative art practice, followed by group discussion and mixed media art making to create their own tears made from a variety of materials.

About The Art of Compassion Workshop

Nanci, a master teaching artist, and a trained facilitator with the Delaware Humanities in their Community Conversations program will be leading an art and conversation workshop on Saturday, April 15, 2023, 1-3 pm. Participants will engage in group discussion around our watershed or pivotal moments in our lives, what we hold onto and what we leave behind. Our conversation will be the inspiration behind us creating hanging vessels or tear drops out of a variety of mixed media. These unique sculptures offer what author Gertrud Mueller Nelson calls “a sense of closure and containment”, recognizing our tears as a “vessel into which to pour most profound feelings”. The objective is to offer creative practice as a ritual and process to reconnect with our creativity, find joy, and facilitate deeper, sometimes difficult conversations for authentic connections and to see the beauty in our shared humanity. This workshop is free and open to the public for participants 16 and older. Participants must Events are free and open to the public. *Participants must pre-register for The Art of Compassion Workshop at https://www.chriswhitecdc.org/workshop-registration-for-chapel-of-tears/ The workshop is underwritten by the Delaware Humanities and the Chris White Gallery.

About the Waterfall Series

Working through grief and a sense of loss, following the death of my mother in 2018, I went to my studio.  Initially using a limited palette of blacks and grays, she worked intuitively and viscerally on a small tabletop etching press to create small unique prayers or offerings to the memory of her mother, eventually adding marks and textures with an inked brayer, graphite, paint, and collage. As I began layering cascading textures and fragmented patterns the work expanded and extended to become long vertical scrolls. The Waterfall Series is somatic, metaphorically extruded from the body like blood, tears, and other fluids. The series unfurled as a river of memory, love, and grief while she navigated the delicate balance between holding on and letting go. It was the phenomenon of this transmittal, a catharsis through the power of these symbolically charged works that is the impetus for this project. Subsequently, I’ve been exploring threads shared between personal, cultural, and religious rituals and the creative process.

Bianca Artopé, lives not lived, 2023, Digital print on acrylic film


As society and culture have become more secular, the rituals and practices that shaped and supported our ancestors are absent from our lives. The pandemic has magnified and amplified this void. Artists across disciplines, are adept at creating rituals. We begin at “the before/status quo”, and we imagine, which is critical to growth, movement, transformation. The during or liminal state is when we break it down, problem solve, and develop steps for a path forward.  The “after, new state” is the work of art or experience that offers a new way of being, knowing, seeing, and reflecting. This project offers a ritual and reflection on what it means to embody grief/loss/uncertainty, as well as joy and curiosity through the creative process. Chapel of Tears is a way to honor the transition, taking agency of this liminal state we are in and to create, the “after”, being a reflection to effect closure and create community. The Chris White Gallery is a two-story exhibition space that is housed on the first floor and basement of Shipley Artist Lofts. The Chris White Gallery serves both the greater Wilmington art community and the resident artists of Shipley Artist Lofts. It is a place for the presentation and appreciation of contemporary arts.
For more information, contact:

Danny Schweers, Chair, Chris White Gallery Committee: danny@w2mw.com

Nanci Hersh: 732-241-0359, nancihersh@gmail.com, nancihersh.com

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