If you drive around downtown Trinidad on Main Street and Commercial, you will see hearts hanging on city light poles. It all started with an idea to create a project for local students and was the brainchild of local artist Frank Policiano.
Last year at Corazon Gallery’s first meeting, members discussed the upcoming year’s projects and shows. Frank Policiano, a retired child advocate/social worker from Denver, suggested that the members do a project with school-aged kids in the area. His idea was to have hearts cut out of wood and have students create art from the hearts.
Two months later, Corazon Gallery shut its doors for three and a half months due to the Corona virus and its shows were canceled.
During the downtime, Frank couldn’t let go of his idea. When he was still working with Social Services in Denver, he was a member of an art gallery that did a Heart project with kids during the summer. He saw the impact it had on the kids. “I’ll never forget the look on those kids’ faces when they brought their art into the gallery.”
Frank was determined to make his project happen. Frank called fellow artist Carol “CJ” Blatnick-Barros for help. He said, “CJ and I got to talking. I told her, we’re not going to have anything normal anymore. We were basically on the same page and wanted to get this to work for the community, the kids and the parents, but mostly for the kids.”
Frank couldn’t have picked a better partner. Between Frank’s passion and CJ’s work ethic and get it done attitude,along with her connections, it not only happen but it grew into something much bigger.
Carol’s idea was to make the project as fun as possible. “This is not about being the best. It’s about everyone coming together to express themselves and shine — stand out — be seen and dare to be different. With categories such as Follow Your Heart, Bless Your Heart, My Heart Belongs to Trinidad, Heart of a Different Color and Foolish Hearts, we hope that the Hearts will depict things inspired by the heart.”
Frank added, “Last year many people lost moms, dads and grandparents. This is a positive. It grew out of Covid. Let’s take something that caused so much sadness and make something positive come out of it. Bring some happiness to the community.”
CJ contacted Builder’s Supply who donated the plywood and Bob Gonzales from School District No. 1 cut out the hearts. Wanting to display the Hearts around town, CJ contacted the City of Trinidad, to get permission to hang the hearts around town. The city scheduled Dan Ruscetti’s crew to hang them from city light poles on Main Street and Commercial on Feb. 8.
Participating schools received hearts. Middle school and high school students got wooden hearts, while elementary students received paper hearts. Homeschoolers and students of Trinidad State College were invited to pick up free entry hearts.
Anyone in Las Animas County who wanted to participate in this project could purchase an entry heart for $5 and create an art heart. Hearts to be hung outdoors, had to be waterproofed and paper hearts would hang in Corazon Gallery’s common area.
All hearts were required to be for sale. The creator of the Heart set the price of their “HeArt” and will retain 70 percent of the sale. Each heart has a number on the back upper left side. Anyone wishing to purchase a heart, can get the number off of the back of the desired heart and come into the gallery with the number to make their purchase.
Out of town judges were procured to pick hearts best representing the different categories. Brenda Ferri, executive director of Raton Arts and Humanities and Maria Cocchiarelli of Walsenburg’s Museum of Friends did the judging on Sunday, Feb. 7.
Corazon Gallery HeArts Award Winners
DARE TO BE DIFFERENT:
Reynaldo Contreras III
FOLLOW YOUR HEART:
Miriam Guzman Diaz
HEART OF A DIFFERENT COLOR:
Tyler Lee Gomez
BLESS YOUR HEART:
Carol Blatnick-Barros (General Public)
MY HEART BELONGS TO TRINIDAD:
INSPIRED BY THE HEART
(General Public) Mariah Hurtado
Mary Anthi Gianulis
Osiris M. Williams
Angela Bowers and Teah Ortivez (High School)
Ella Sanchez and Jacqueline Lynn
Participants and buyers can pick up their Heart or commission at the Gallery, March 3 – 6. Awards will also be distributed during that time.