Titled “Reverberations of Love,” our installation is much more than a simple art project. That’s because it’s made of “Feelie Hearts,” the red fabric hearts that 2Life residents, volunteers, and community members have been handsewing and stuffing with cotton and love as part of our intergenerational program for more than ten years. We gift these comforting plush hearts to new medical interns, cancer patients, communities mourning incidents of violence, and anyone who needs a reminder that they are loved.
Our community is making and stringing together more than 1,000 Feelie Hearts, which will become vines enveloping a tree and showering visitors to Riverway Park in Brookline, the site of the “Reverberations” exhibit, with love. Even the tree was chosen with love: it’s in an accessible location near the Longwood MBTA stop, and there is a bench nearby where visitors can sit to enjoy the art.
“When the hearts are made, it emphasizes the role each person plays in the community,” says Kerri Schmidt, 2Life’s Director of Intergenerational Programming and the artist who conceived of this installation. “Everyone has a role, and if the person in charge of tracing the pattern doesn’t show up one day, their presence is missed. It reminds us to value and check in on one another.”
One of the best things about Feelie Hearts is that everyone can join in making them. One 2Life resident lamented that she could no longer sew because she couldn’t thread a needle anymore. Says Kerri, “A volunteer threaded a needle for her, and a sense of joy came to her face immediately because she was doing something she loved again.”
Even mistakes can bring joy, as when one heart-maker accidentally sewed her Feelie Heart to her emergency lifeline button. “When she realized what she’d done, she cracked up,” Schmidt recalled. “She said, ‘I have not laughed that hard in a long time.’”
“Reverberations of Love” will be on display from April 27 to June 2, 2019. Join us for the grand opening celebration on Sunday, April 28, when we’ll be making even more Feelie Hearts to continue spreading the love.