While I was in the early stages of creating ideas for this project, and visiting in Santa Rosa for a family gathering, I stopped to visit Dr. Joe Cool, Heart Throb. Dr. Joe Cool, who belongs to Northern California Medical Associates, was one of the five statues I created for Peanuts on Parade: A Tribute to Charles M. Schulz, a several-year project, with different character statues each year. He’ll turn ten years old this year. It’s hard to believe — where does the time go?
As you may be able to tell, Dr. Joe is a heart doctor — so he has hearts all over, including on his collar, sunglasses, and surgical cap — his do-rag. How thematic are all those hearts, given what I’m working on now! He also holds an EKG tape — and the heartbeats on the tape were that of a young girl who was a patient.
It was good to see Dr. Joe again. And as I walked up, someone had stopped to take his picture. It’s nice to know he’s still making people happy!
We've seen so much strife and division in this country, during and after one of the most divisive elections in our history since the Civil War. Over one thousand hate crimes were reported in the month afterward. But what we need in the world is more love and kindness, not more rancor and animosity.
I began thinking about the impact of visual images on people's well-being. If you see something that makes you feel sad, or angry, or hurt, how would it impact you? And I wondered how it would be if people saw something that made them smile, something that made them feel good.
Hearts, as the symbol of love, do that. What if people saw hearts on fenceposts as they drove to work? Or on trees — or sidewalks — as they walked through town? Would they smile? Would they think of love? Would they feel cared for? Would their day be brightened just a little bit? And I wondered if I could do something that would have an impact for the better here, in my small corner of the world.
So I decided, as an artist, that I wanted to put hearts all across Napa Valley — wherever people would see them — as a way of spreading love throughout our communities. It's a big job, but you have to start somewhere, right? I'm starting right here. This blog will document the project.
Karen Lynn Ingalls is an artist and art teacher in Napa Valley, California. She wants to spread love, in the form of art installations of hearts, as far and wide as possible, beginning in Napa Valley. The art she does apart from this project can be seen locally at Jessel Gallery in Napa, and online at www.KarenLynnIngalls.com.
Hearts Across the Valley began in 2017 as a community-based public art project in Napa Valley, California, created by artist and art teacher Karen Lynn Ingalls. It is intended to spread love across the valley, and beyond, using the power of Art. Ultimately, hundreds of people will be involved in its creations, and the installations and other artwork created will be seen by valley residents, visitors, and recipients.