CHEK Upside: Saanich community art project aiming to unite isolated community members

WatchThe District of Saanich is partnering with isolated and vulnerable community members to create heart art installations in parks throughout the region.

The District of Saanich is debuting a new community art project involving the ultimate symbol of hope: hearts.

“We came up with an idea for a project with our partners to bring their hearts, minds and their words out into the community,” says community arts specialist Brenda Weatherston.

Hearts might be the most drawn, painted or sculpted items in the world over the last few months, and they are also the focus of the project.

Contributions have come in from isolated and vulnerable members of the community and organizations such as the Garth Homer Society, the Victoria Native Friendship Centre and the Victoria Cool Aid Society.

“We’ve had a number of organizations and we may have the opportunity to collaborate with a couple more organizations before we’re done,” says Weatherston.

The collaboration has lead to several colourful art displays throughout the region’s parks.

“I think it meant a lot to people to be able to deliver these art kits and give them an opportunity to be creative and express themselves within their own centres where they live,” says District of Saanich representative Jessie Demers.

At Gyro Beach, Rutledge or Rainbow Park, the hearts are a colourful and welcome addition.

“We’re just starting to put them out in some of the parks around Saanich, into places where people will see them in their own neighbourhood and community,” says Weatherston.

Seeing what each artist comes up with is also part of the fun.

“We open up these boxes and it’s like Christmas each time,” says Demers. “Being able to see their message and their imagination expressed in these wooden hearts, it’s wonderful to be able to put them out in the community and have people appreciate them,” Demers adds.

They’re doing exactly what they’re intended to do, bring a smile to those who need a touch of love in their day.

“There was a mother and daughter here, the little girl saw the hearts go up and just immediately walked over and tried to hug one of them and that was just very very sweet for us to see,” remembers Weatherston.  “That’s what we hope everyone feels.”

To find out more about the HeArts Together Community Art Project, visit the District of Saanich’s website.

Cole SorensonCole Sorenson

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