The heart of Vancouver will soon be filled with hearts.
Beginning Friday, the streets of downtown Vancouver — and a few other areas across the city — will be adorned with 6-foot-tall fiberglass heart statues, each featuring the work of local artists. Clark County residents and visitors will have until Sept. 16 to tour the town and get a glimpse of the 30 HeArts, as they're called.
Among them, there's the heart-shaped artichoke, titled "Heartichoke." There's the "Armored Heart," a deep-red-colored heart with big metal wings sprouting from the sides. There's the "Water, Soil, Light" heart, hollowed out with a couple of octopus and elephants placed among houses. And there's the "Velocity" heart that, on one side, shows young boys riding antique high-wheel bicycles and on the other, has men riding modern street bicycles.
"There's not one that's like another," said Anne John, a project organizer and artist.
The project — The Beat Goes On – HeArts of Clark County — is a fundraiser for the PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center Heart and Vascular Center. Each statue will be auctioned at a gala Sept. 21. The goal is to raise $500,000 to build a new surgical theater.
The new surgical suite will accommodate both minimally invasive procedures, such as placing stents in the heart, and major surgical procedures, such as open-heart surgery. Currently, those procedures are performed in two different rooms, requiring a patient to be moved or medical staff to crowd into a small space, said Connie Kearney, the project chairwoman.
In the process of raising money, Kearney hopes the project will promote heart health and heart disease awareness.
"It's a project that hasn't happened in our community," Kearney said. "We've done things for breast and prostate cancers, but now it's hearts, and everybody has hearts. It affects everyone."
Similar campaigns have taken place in Portland (painted cows) and Seattle (decorated pigs), but this is the first statue art fundraiser in Clark County, Kearney said.
The project has turned out to be a true community collaboration, she said.
A local fabrication company designed and created the statues. Thirty individuals and businesses sponsored the HeArts, underwriting the construction and materials costs. Artists from across Clark County and Portland decorated the pieces. A car dealer provided a clear coating for each statue to protect the art from weather ailments and graffiti. And a moving company transported the statues to and from each location.
While sponsors covered the costs, they didn't have any say in how the HeArts would be decorated. John only asked artists to stay away from political issues and avoid nudity.
"It's supposed to be fun," she said.
One sculpture — "The Public Heart" — will be created by JP Public, that is, anybody who decides to write or draw on the fiberglass heart. "The Public Heart" will be on display outside of Niche Wine and Art, 1013 Main St. Anyone with a Sharpie marker, paint or whatever else they may have can leave their mark on the heart.
"What you write today may not be there tomorrow," John said. "That's kind of the fun."
John will check on the heart regularly to make sure nothing inappropriate is drawn or written on the sculpture. At the end of the display period, John will "spiff it up a bit" and get the heart a clear coat of paint. Then, it'll be auctioned alongside the other hearts.
Each heart statue stands 6-feet tall, is 3-feet wide and is about 16-inches thick. They weigh nearly 200 pounds.
The 3-D canvas proved to be tricky for some artists. Many used the shape as part of their composition, but others created the piece as they would on any canvas, regardless of shape, John said.
Michael Smith, the "Velocity" artist, said he had several ideas but weaned them down to his final idea — boys and men on bicycles — largely because he could make the image work on a 3-D heart.
The piece also represented something close to Smith's own heart.
"Cycling is a love of my life," Smith said. "And I think it's a great way to promote a healthy lifestyle."
The 30 fiberglass HeArts will be on display across Vancouver beginning Friday. They'll remain on display through Sept. 16, and will then be auctioned at The Beat Goes On – HeArts of Clark County Gala on Sept. 21. For more information, and a map of the HeArt locations, visit http://www.swmedicalcenter.org/HeArts.
Here's where you can find the HeArts:
• DeWitt Construction: 13909 N.E. 10th Ave.
• ManorCare Salmon Creek: 2811 N.E. 139th St.
• Highgate Senior Living: 9803 N.E. Hazel Dell Ave.
• PeaceHealth Southwest Memorial Health Center: 100 E. 33rd St.
• The Hilton Vancouver Washington: 301 W. Sixth St.
• Esther Short Park: West Eighth and Columbia streets
• Heritage Bank: 700 Washington St.
• Bank of America Financial Center: 805 Broadway
• Heritage Place: 300 W. Eighth St.
• Erik Runyan Jewelers: 900 Washington St.
• Java House: 210 W. Evergreen Blvd.
• St. James Catholic Church: 218 W. 12th St.
• Wells Fargo: 1800 Main St.
• US Bank: 1607 Main St.
• Clark County Historical Society: 1511 Main St.
• BergerABAM: 1111 Main St.
• Niche Wine and Art: 1013 Main St.
• Kiggins Theatre: 1011 Main St.
• M.J. Murdock Executive Plaza Building: 703 Broadway
• Vancouver Community Library: 901 C St.
• Vancouver Entryway: 400 E. Mill Plain Blvd.
• The Heathman Lodge: 7801 N.E. Greenwood Drive
• PeaceHealth Shared Services Center: 1115 S.E. 164th Ave.
• Cascade Park Care Center: 801 S.E. Park Crest Ave.
• PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center: 400 N.E. Mother Joseph Place
• The Vancouver Clinic: 700 N.E. 87th Ave.
• Grand Central: 2520 Columbia House Blvd.
• Beaches Restaurant: 1919 S.E. Columbia River Drive
• C.E. John Company: 1701 S.E. Columbia Drive
• Ray Hickey Hospice House: 2112 E. Mill Plain Blvd.