CHICAGO (CBS) -- You may have noticed painted hearts scattered throughout the city of Chicago— in neighborhoods like Kenwood, Chatham, and Hyde Park. And this year, to celebrate the LUV Institute's ten-year anniversary, they're putting these public art pieces up for auction, the proceeds of which will fund a different installation in new parts of the city.
They're calling it a LUV Fest, set to feature the Parade of Hearts tour, where riders and walkers will be able to visit nine of the 12 hearts. They'll additionally get to learn more about the LUV Institute's restorative work in the community.
The LUV Institute has a social-emotional approach to managing trauma in young people of color. Public art is one of the several ways they work towards mitigating the impacts of living in a traditionally underserved neighborhood.
Executive Director of the LUV Institute, Cosette Nazon-Wilburn, says that trauma-informed programming is essential to the work her organization does with young people.
"The Center for Disease Control discovered that two out of every three young people by the age of 16 have experienced trauma. Now, trauma is not just violence, right? It's also anything that interrupts you and your normal," said Nazon-Wilburn
The inspiration for the art on the hearts comes from peace circles, where community members expressed what solutions they'd like to see in their communities to mitigate trauma.
"What's different about this art installation is that there were peace circles that were held in each of the 11 communities that we did this project in. And from that, that artistic expression ended up on the heart. And that is what you're going to see," said Nazon-Wilburn
Local artist, Damon Lamar Reed was one of 11 selected to paint a heart this year. He headed up the project, working with the other artists to develop and ultimately install the LUV hearts. For Reed, the peace circles make the hearts a part of the community, as they reflect the neighborhoods people want to see.
"If these hearts were going to go in the community. Even though the community wasn't painting it, they wanted them to have a certain stake in it and have involvement in it," said Reed
Reed's heart is reflective of the community's desire for connections. It interrogates how we maintain relationships in an increasingly virtual world. He says it's what he drew from the peace circles and did his best to reflect the community's feedback.
We didn't really kind of see people in real life, so we were kind of building those connections. Other ways.
Our hope is that we'll be able to really bring the intention of restorative practice, which is really the foundation of peace circles" said Nazon-Wilburn.
"Restorative practice is a set of tools that are designed to heal through the power of listening. And so, if we can now equip more parents, more youth-serving professionals, more teachers, more public safety personnel, with these kinds of tools, we can create a safer Chicago," said Nazon-Wilburn.
The hearts will be auctioned off this Saturday by the LUV Institute. All proceeds will go to next year's installation, slated to produce 24 new hearts across the city. You can visit luvinstitute.org to learn more.
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