Follow Your Heart

Posted 03/02/2016


2016 Rome Community HeART Project

From Rome News-Tribune
Posted January 31, 2016
Severo Avila, Features Editor
Follow Your Heart

Colorful hearts will be popping up all over downtown Rome in February. But they aren't just beautiful pieces of art. 

They annual HeART project is an initiative led by Rome Area Council for the Arts and Redmond Regional Medical Center to foster and exhibit work by local artists and to raise heart health awareness.

This year, 15 large HeARTs and five new HeART garlands will be displayed on Broad Street and beyond, offering the community 20 different opportunities for local artists or art-related groups to showcase their talent.

The artists represented in the project hail from various sectors of the community. Some, like Chandler Adams, are high school students while others, like Siri Selle, are established artists who have participated in the the HeART project for a number of years.

Nineteen-year-old Erica Dutton has a passion for ink pen and acrylic paint mediums. Diagnosed with Essential Tremors at the age of 18, she refuses to let the diagnosis stop her from doing what she loves.

Kathryn O'Mara is a three-year participant in the project and is a studio art teacher at Darlington Upper School while Christian Limon chose to create a yoga-themed heart inspired by the stile of the late artist Keith Haring.

The Pre-K through second grade students at Pepperell Primary created collage art and learned about improving their own heart health.

RACA director Rainey Campbell said the project is a way of connecting the community.

“We really found out that public art offers a sense of connection to the community,” she said. “This project celebrates local artists and raises awareness for heart health. The combination of those is really wonderful.

With most of the pieces within walking distance of each other, Campbell said she encourages Rome residents to stroll downtown, visiting each piece.

“It’s a great way to get out and enjoy downtown Rome,” she said. “The hearts are all three-dimensional so you can walk around them and see both sides.”

In addition to the HeARTs, Campbell said the garlands (a few smaller hearts strung together) offer a different look for the project and gets more people involved.

The HeARTs will be on display at these locations through Feb. 29. Area residents can vote in an online poll for their favorite HeART. The winner or winners will receive a cash prize of $100. To vote, go online to RACA’s Facebook page. Users can vote once per day throughout February.


Where to look

Here’s a list of this year’s participants and where you can see their HeARTs:


Chieftains Museum/Major Ridge Home by Elizabeth Barron

“The Balance of History”

Location: La Scala Mediterranean Bistro


Chandler Adams, Model High 

“Heart of the Dancer”

Location: Schroeder’s New Deli


Mary Anna Fricks, Darlington School

“Tale as Old as Time”

Location: Southeastern Mills


Justin Smith and Heaven Forsyth, Pepperell High School

“Unlock Your Heart”

Location: Johnny’s New York Style Pizza


Erica Dutton

“A Tick in Time”

Location: Citizens First Bank


Laura Allshouse


Location: Redmond Regional Medical Center


Melissa Rutledge

“Crochet Your Stress Away”

Location: River City Bank


Siri Selle and Studio Siri

“Growing Healthy Hearts”

Location: Swift and Finch Coffee Shop (HeART) and Town Green (garland)


Judith Frasure and Ellen Johnson

“Feel the Love”

Location: Corner of Second Avenue and Broad Street


Debbo Gray

“Just Peace”

Location: Citizens First Bank


Kathryn O’Mara

“Heart #3”

Location: Harvest Moon Café


Christian Limón

“I Heart Haring”

Location: Corner of Second Avenue and Broad Street


Timothy J. Pitts

“Steam Pump”

Location: Joe Marion Law


Darlington 7th-8th grade advanced art class taught by Jennifer Moore

“Put a Little Love in Your Heart” (garland)

Location: DeSoto Theatre


DIGS, Inc.

“Healthy Hearts” (garland)

Location: Doug’s Downtown Deli


Floyd County 4-H led by Abbie Salmon

“Serving Hearts” (garland)

Location: River Dog Outpost


Pepperell Primary School taught by Melissa Harvil

“Our Hearts Fuel our Minds” (garland)

Location: Stella Blu Cosmetic Boutique


Kimberly McGuiness

“Rock the Beat”

Location: Joe Marion Law


Stay tuned as we share each of our artists' biographies and HeARTs throughout the month! 



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