Parade of Hearts to March Away Soon
by: Nancy Kalikow Maxwell
If you want to see any of those heart-shaped sculptures that have popped up throughout K.C., you better act fast. Those 154 art pieces installed as part of the Parade of Hearts Program will be taken down at the end of May. Plans call for the artwork to be sold at auction, with proceeds benefitting medical, educational and arts organizations impacted by the pandemic.
Similar to the previous “Cow Parade” art project, Parade of Hearts features five-foot fiberglass sculptures designed and decorated by local artists. One of the stated purposes of this regional initiative is to “shine a bright light on the entire artistic community.” Out of 700 heart designs submitted, more than 150 works from 123 different artists were selected for inclusion. The artists chosen are of different ages and genders and represent various cultural, ethnic and geographic backgrounds. A complete list of artists can be found online at https://theparadeofhearts.com/artists/, as well as through the QR codes provided on each sculpture’s plaque.
Thanks to the local efforts of City staff, PV City Council Member Bonnie Limbird, and PV residents, Prairie Village was selected as the site for five of the hearts. These sites include:
These Prairie Village hearts range from the whimsical to the deadly serious. “Spectrum of Love” at 7400 W. State Line is a colorful representation of an eye created by Whiskey Design and sponsored by the University of Kansas Health System. That same sponsor also underwrote the work at 7301 Mission Road - “We are Better Together” by Dennis Stanton. This piece features hands reaching out to each other on one side, with grasping hands depicted on the reverse.
At W. 78th St. and State Line, the heart entitled “Moving Forward” was designed by Michaela Riley. Sponsored by a locally-based café, Parisi Coffee, this sculpture features time piece gears, a clock and Kansas City skyline.
The heart at Meadowbrook Park sings the praises of Kansas City’s musical tradition with “Jazzin’ KC Nights.” Created by Wanda Vehlewald and sponsored by VanTrust, the piece is shaped like a piano and features other musical instruments. Emblazoned on the back side of the heart is a neon-looking sign pronouncing, “JAZZ KC.”
The heart in Corinth Quarter was created by Brooke Jiskra and sponsored by Veracity, an Overland Park-based technology consulting company. Calling the work “Broken Hearted,” Jistra created a memorial to the victims of COVID. Photos of the deceased are shown within the heart, along with hand-written post-it notes from mourners. Among their heart-wrenching statements are:
Several people have been so moved by this piece, they have placed flowers and candles on the sculpture’s base.
In addition to these five PV pieces, approximately 25 other hearts have been installed throughout Johnson County. The Shawnee Mission Post created a driving map of county-wide pieces that can be found HERE.
According to Parade of Hearts, after all these pieces are removed at the end of May, “an exciting extravaganza” is planned for this summer. For now, however, the enthusiasm remains at the sculpture locations.