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Rose River Memorial at Burbank City Hall

June 14th, 2021 
This upcoming installation will be inaugurated on June 14th and the memorial will honor all the Covid victims in the City of Burbank.

The installation owes a great deal to the Burbank Tournament of Roses who have stepped in to help make roses, mount them on our fishing netting and also create a letter 'B' armature on which we will place the roses. We also thank the City of Burbank for all their help and support. Special thanks to Robin Hanna and all those who have helped at the Burbank Tournament of Roses.

Photo courtesy Marcos Lutyens
Burbank Tournament of Roses Association members Robin Hanna and Judith Miller attach felt roses to a fish net for a Rose River Memorial exhibit, which honors those killed by COVID-19. A local memorial with more than 240 such roses will come to City Hall for a week starting on Monday.

When Marcos Lutyens started making felt roses in honor of the Americans who had died from COVID-19, the death toll was at about 180,000 people. He thought — he hoped — that he’d have to make about 200,000. He was wrong.

As of this month, the coronavirus has killed about 600,000 people in the United States — including more than 240 Burbank residents.

“It just got worse and worse,” Lutyens said. “But at the same time, as it got worse, the community response got stronger and stronger.”


Since he started in August, the Los Angeles-based artist has made and collected about 30,000 roses fashioned from fabric, many of them donated from people around the country.

Those creations have been displayed in Lutyens’ Rose River Memorial, a traveling exhibit that mourns those who have died from the disease in the communities that it visits. Lutyens held the first memorial in Boyle Heights. On Monday, it’ll come to Burbank City Hall.

The memorial, consisting of more than 240 felt roses assembled by Burbank’s Tournament of Roses Association, will remain there for a week. 

“[Those] deaths, when you relate it to the 600,000 that have died in the whole U.S., it doesn’t sound like a lot,” Lutyens said. “But when you multiply that by, say, 10 close family members in a relatively small community, you’ve already got 2,500 people that are severely impacted.”

Monday’s event will be livestreamed on the city’s Facebook page at 5 p.m. Lutyens and Mayor Bob Frutos will speak at the memorial.

Also attending will be Levi Chen, a Sherman Oaks-based musician, who will play a piece composed in memory of his father and the SARS pandemic of the early 2000s; Rebekah Mirsky, founding cantor of residential treatment facility and synagogue Beit T’Shuvah; and Connie Nassios, Abbi Berry and Ken Berry, Burbank residents and artists.

“The ceremony feels like a way for the city to remember that, as we’re starting to open up and celebrate the summer, there’s hundreds and thousands of people that continue under their grief,” said Leah Harrison, chair of the Burbank Cultural Arts Commission. “So I think the Rose River project is a way for us to honor those who haven’t been able to grieve their losses properly.”

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