In this new series, ArtRat Gallery Social Media Manager Maddy Visscher explores the people, places and things that make our neighborhood great. Email Maddy with feedback and suggestions about the topics you want to see us cover! 

We all know about Halloween, and many of us keep track of Samhain and Día de los Muertos, too. In fact, fall festivals around the world acknowledge the transition from light to dark — and the intersection of life and its ending. 

The Mortals Cafe barista Jesy at the counter.As the name implies, ArtRat’s neighbors at The Mortals Cafe make that crossroads their business. Owner Abbey Hunter told me her goal is to create a “safe and creative space” where visitors can gather to speak about death and other losses.

While I sipped my pomme de terre — a Mortals seasonal special that comprises a caffè latte with ube (purple yam) and apple butter — I chatted with barista Jesy about the importance of these holidays: They help create a space to face the unknowable and invite us to reflect, grow and come together as a community.

Jesy said this kind of personal exploration isn’t limited to physical mortality. “Most of us think of dying as a loss of life,” she said, but it can also include other transitions, such as a loss of passion or motivation. “You may even grieve for the person you aren’t anymore.” Whatever transition you face, The Mortals Cafe can offer support, closure — and a soothing cup of kindness. 

This month, Mortals’ lineup of seasonal events includes:

Counter at The Mortals Cafe.

Inspired by “death cafés” that first appeared in London in 2011, Mortals Cafe just celebrated its first birthday on July 17. It offers a range of coffee and tea drinks including Vietnamese phin and egg coffee

Its mission: to bring people together to discuss end-of-life issues and emotions, and to build resources that include directories of death doulas, estate planners and burial alternatives; kid-friendly game nights on the second Tuesday of each month; and Cafe Mortel, a “a no-agenda, casual discussion about all things death and dying.”

Mortals Cafe is at 111 Division Ave S, inside the Little Space Studio creative co-working space. It’s open Monday through Friday from 8am to 6pm.  


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