HeArts Together project commended by BCRPA

May 14, 2021

News release

For immediate release

HeArts Together project commended by BCRPA

Saanich, BC – Saanich’s HeArts Together Community Art Project received an Honorable Mention in the Program Excellence Award category as part of the 2021 BC Recreation and Parks Association (BCRPA) Provincial Awards of Excellence. In a year with numerous programs in the running for top prize, the Awards Committee was so impressed by the Saanich initiative, they awarded it with special recognition.

The community art project was created in response to the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to invite isolated and vulnerable community members to come together creatively while remaining close to home. More than 1,000 hand-made hearts were created by residents of long term care facilities, participants accessing services through a community service organizations, and children and youth participating in Saanich Recreation programs. The completed hearts were assembled and put on display in parks across the municipality.

The project was made possible through the efforts of Community Arts Specialist Brenda Weatherston; Jessie Demers and Renee Sala of the Cedar Hill Arts Centre; and collaboration and support from community partners along with community volunteers.

“We are thankful that the BCRPA has recognized our collaborative project to enhance the quality of life in our community,” said Brenda Weatherston. “This project has provided a heartwarming and positive community impact created out of a really challenging time.”

The project was safe and accessible which made it possible for more than 1,000 individuals of all ages and abilities to participate. Diversity of project participants was an essential component of the project to meaningfully reflect the community and to inspire other community members. Fourteen organizations collaborated on the project including the Garth Homer Society that supports individuals with developmental disabilities.

“Clients across all of our programs took part in creating hearts that allowed them to express their creativity, emotions and individualism,” said Garth Homer Society Team Coordinator Alison Duerden. “Many clients expressed their feelings about the pandemic, using this art form to capture the anxieties, desire for community connection and importance of spreading kindness and empathy in their artistic creations. It brought light and hope in a time of uncertainty.”

The HeArts Together project continues with the completion and installation of remaining hearts in a dozen parks, including a large clay heart mosaic that will be installed outside the Cedar Hill Recreation and Arts Centre in June.

Learn more

Find a gallery of hearts and messages created by participants, as well as a list of the heart display locations at Saanich.ca/heartstogether.

The BCRPA is a not for profit organization that plays a central role in leading the enrichment and improvement of the quality of life of British Columbians and their communities.


Media contact:
Brenda Weatherston
Community Arts Specialist