Today, Parade of Hearts (TheParadeofHearts.com), an organization comprised of over a dozen local businesses and not-for-profits, revealed an ambitious community engagement and arts initiative for the Kansas City metro. The project is a vehicle for regional unity through art and a fundraiser for the sectors most impacted by the events of 2020 and 2021. With a nod to Kansas City’s historic ties to heart imagery, the event will feature 100- 200 fiberglass hearts, distributed throughout the greater Kansas City region.
“Kansas City has long been known as the ‘heart of America,’” says Jenn Nussbeck, co-chair for Parade of Hearts. “After the difficulties of 2020 and into 2021, this is an opportunity to heal our local communities, have productive conversations about equity and inclusivity, while lending assistance to those deeply affected by the events of the last year and a half.”
Through myriad iterations, the heart has long been a part of Kansas City’s history and persona – reflecting both its central location and the sincerity in character of the populous. As early as 1919, Kansas City-based railroad workers wore pins featuring the heart to represent their home station at the intersection of the country’s major railroad lines. Various applications of heart imagery through the years include prominent placement on the jerseys of the 1942 Kansas City Monarchs Negro League baseball team, as well as numerous city promotions from postcards to ads for tourism. Light poles along the iconic Country Club Plaza featured the heart in the 1950’s and 60’s. And in recent years, Kansas City startup, Charlie Hustle Clothing Co., brought the heart back to the forefront with its now famous KC heart t-shirt design.
“A project of this scope takes incredible partners,” comments Mary Wooldridge, co-chair for Parade of Hearts. “Thankfully, we’re lucky enough to have the support of The University of Kansas Health System, Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, Charlie Hustle Clothing Co. and Dimensional Innovations – just to name a few.”
Beginning today, artists are welcome to apply to design a heart, with selection process to conclude this fall. The hearts will be placed across the region beginning in March of 2022 and be searchable through the Parade of Hearts mobile app and website. The hearts will eventually be auctioned off to secure additional funds for the project’s charitable beneficiaries. For more information, visit TheParadeofHearts.com.
About Parade of Hearts
The mission for the Parade of Hearts is to unite our region through an incredible public art experience. Original artwork based on the KC Heart will be placed around the region and promoted as a tourism activity. The goal is to set a national example of unification, truly showing the country we are the heartland with a common purpose of making our communities strong. Embracing Kansas City’s place as the “heart of America,” the event will energize the local economy, boost tourism, and revitalize retail and service sectors, and raise funds for those most affected by the events of 2020 and 2021. Board members include: Shawn Long, Chase McAnulty, Bob Kendrick, Tucker Trotter, LaVon Colhour, Mary Wooldridge, David Steffano, and Jenn Nussbeck. website: TheParadeofHearts.com