What Is In Your Heart? ❤️

Who are the people that you love? What is an important place in your heart? How do you feel when you think of them?” - just some questions asked by the California-based artist, Tina Villadolid, during the second installment of a community art installation, the Heart Map Project, at the Arab American Family Support Center in Brooklyn, NY.


The week of June 3rd, Arab American Family Support Center (AAFSC) welcomed children, families and staff to ask and reflect on these important questions.


The participants, children and staff of AAFSC, attended three days of workshops where they worked on visualizing and creating 3-D hearts and messages to people they love. Under the creative guidance from Tina, they answered questions like: "What is a place that you love? What can you smell, feel, see, hear or taste when you think of it?".

Places that were mentioned ranged from Queens, New York to farther away countries like Yemen and Thailand. Excitement and reflection filled the room as people recalled their favorite places and the smells, sights and sounds associated with them.


Those sharing also chose people that are important to them and described why those loved ones are in their hearts.

Teachers, parents, brothers, sisters, friends and neighbors’ names were placed into the colorful 3-D hearts. One participant, carefully writing down a name surrounded by small hearts, shared that it was for her brother, who was the kindest person in her life.

It was an incredible experience and opportunity for children and adults to have time to stop and think about the love in their hearts and in their community.

The AAFSC valued the positive impact of the Heart Map Project on its community so much last year that they invited me back for a second iteration this year. I have such gratitude for the opportunity to work with the same community again, as I believe that the best work reaches fruition with a “long game” approach. Processing your life through art is something that should be returned to as often as possible. The visual narrative provides an immediate, visceral experience for both the artist and the audience. It’s a way to feel seen and to see yourself in the story.
— Tina Villadolid

The week culminated with a final installation on Friday, where the artwork of the participants was displayed in a specially designated space in the community center. Children, community members and staff had a chance to walk through the room filled with hearts and messages to those they love and representations of who they are in the world. LitWorld is proud and humbled to continue being a part of story explorations like these and cannot wait to witness more Heart Map Projects around the world!