Making A Difference

New Parade of Hearts Exhibit Aims to Engage Chicago Communities Through Art

A Chicago organization commissioned several artists to engage the community in conversation and paint ideas onto heart sculptures.  

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On Sept. 8, Luv Institute will unveil a new public art exhibition called The Parade of Hearts, a series of 12 fiberglass heart sculptures installed in 11 South Side Chicago neighborhoods.

"Earlier this year, my team and I were looking at the impact that the coronavirus and all the social unrest had on our students, our parents, our principals," said Cosette Nazon-Wilburn, Luv Institute’s executive director. "It was a reoccurring conversation we were having."

So the group commissioned several artists to engage the community in conversation and paint those ideas onto heart sculptures.  

Damon Lamar Reed painted two sculptures that will be installed in Bronzeville and Hyde Park.  

"I look at art as a way to change the world, and whether that's something small or something big, it’s all about putting that seed out there," Reed said.

Raven Smith's painted sculpture will reside in the Oakland neighborhood.

"My heart actually represents chaos turning into resilience," Smith said, "and turning into strength and power, representing the unlimited potential that the community has."

Patricia Stewarts' sculpture will live in the Chatham neighborhood. 

"We’ve been doing murals all over the city of Chicago," Stewarts said, "and now we have something three-dimensional to complement the murals."

The goal is to expand the Parade of Hearts to every Chicago neighborhood.  

"When they do public art projects like this, they are usually downtown," Nazon-Wilburn said. "It’s usually in the really nice neighborhoods. This time, we chose the neighborhoods in the mid-south just as a starting point."

The group will auction off miniature versions of the heart sculptures and host a treasure hunt in mid-October. 

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