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Sunday, April 21, 2024

Art in Medicine project holds community event at How Bazar

Artist-in-residence Sarah Hinds hosted an evening of art for Gainesville residents

Mosaic artwork at How Bazar on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024.
Mosaic artwork at How Bazar on Wednesday, Feb. 14, 2024.

For 40 Gainesville residents, Valentine’s Day was spent celebrating  different kinds of hearts: mosaic ones. 

Sarah Hinds, the 47-year-old artist-in-residence at UF Health Shands Arts in Medicine, organized a free event for Gainesville residents to make their own mosaic hearts as part of a project to bring a rainbow mosaic mural to the city. 

The project is the most recent of many across the United States. The first came from Jen Kuhns, an artist in the Pacific Northwest. 

“It was a project to encourage diversity with a group of at-risk youth in Washington state,” Hinds said. “Each one of the hearts was done by a different student in an after-school program.” 

When Kuhns finished her project in spring 2018, she shared the idea with mosaic artists around the country, inspiring another project closer to Gainesville. 

“This is the second heart wall,” Hinds said, referencing a picture she showed the audience Tuesday evening. “This was done as an artistic response to the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.” 

The Pulse mosaic is made up of around 750 hearts and spans nearly 20 feet on a building in Orlando. Hinds’ Gainesville project aims to more than double its size. 

“We’re going to continue doing heart gatherings, both in the community and in schools until we reach around 2,000 hearts,” Hinds said. 

Hinds has focused her efforts in public elementary schools around Alachua County, although she plans to expand to middle schools, high schools and after-school programs. 

“I am working in about 20 different public schools and 20 to 25 different community sites,” she said, “so my studio is an explosion of color right now.” 

The final project will be around 250 feet long and 8 feet tall, residing on a wall outside a GRU substation near Depot Park. 

The project will be in Gainesville, but 29-year-old community arts coordinator Jernie Millan said the funding comes from the federal government. 

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One Nation, One Project is a national initiative designed to bring together arts and health in 18 cities across the U.S. in efforts to revitalize communities. It celebrates July 27 as the culmination of its sponsored projects around the country, including the reveal of the mural. 

Funding is crucial to driving the project, from the funds behind the workshops to the costly installment process.

“It takes thousands of dollars to produce,” Millan  said. “We probably have $700 in materials just here tonight, so imagine that times 50 workshops.” 

Money is a significant part of the project, but Millan said the community participation is the most important. 

“Community with your friends, with your family, with your strangers is healthy for us,” she said. “This is our love letter to Gainesville.” 

Contact Bea Lunardini at blunardini@alligator.org. Follow her on X @bealunardini.

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