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Kansas City's Parade of Hearts is returning in 2023 with 'a very diverse collection' of artists

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Parade of Hearts
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This 2022-edition neon heart, "Blurred Lines,” was created by a team called Element Ten + Heidt and Depth.

As executive director Jenn Nussbeck puts it: “Kansas City really took the Parade of Hearts to heart.”

The idea for a public art installation of 5-foot-tall heart sculptures designed by Kansas City artists launched in 2021. This year, more than 150 hearts were installed in tourist destinations and neighborhoods across the metro.

On Thursday, 40 artists were selected for the project in 2023.

Artists vying for a heart to design this year were able to submit more than one proposal, Nussbeck says. For 2023, the selection panel only accepted one proposal per artist. The goal: a wide array of art.

Nussbeck says in all, 526 artists submitted proposals.

“We will see everything from the history of Kansas City to exciting things coming, such as the women's soccer team (stadium),” says Nussbeck.

Blue and yellow giant heart-shaped sculpture unveiled by children outdoors.
Carlos Moreno
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KCUR 89.3
Children unveil the 155th heart in the parade of hearts in April at the World War I Memorial and Museum commemorating the children displaced by the war in Ukraine.

“Whether it's sports or our music history or landmarks, or simply inspiration that has come out of healthcare and first responders. So I think we're going to see a very diverse collection this year.”

New and emerging artists were selected for the project, along with well-known artists, such as John Bukaty and Charlie Podrebarac. All 40 artists will receive a stipend of $2,000.

The hearts will be installed in two phases starting in spring 2023, Nussbeck says.

Over a three-week period in March and April, hearts will crop up around downtown Kansas City, Missouri, and the Country Club Plaza. In early May, she says, “that's where we will see hearts spread throughout the region on both sides of the state line.”

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Parade of Hearts
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Pine Tar Collective created this heart in 2022 titled "Officially Kansas City Royals.” It was placed, appropriately, at Kauffman Stadium.

In 2022, the project raised $2.56 million for charity, with support from individual and corporate sponsors, merchandise sales and a public auction of the hearts. Four area organizations received funds: AltCap, Mid-America Regional Council, University of Kansas Health System and Visit KC Foundation.

Beneficiaries in 2023 include the University of Kansas Health System, Children’s Miracle Network and an additional nonprofit to be announced in March.

Kansas City is known for its style of jazz, influenced by the blues, as the home of Walt Disney’s first animation studio and the headquarters of Hallmark Cards. As one of KCUR’s arts reporters, I want people here to know a wide range of arts and culture stories from across the metropolitan area. I take listeners behind the scenes and introduce them to emerging artists and organizations, as well as keep up with established institutions. Send me an email at lauras@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @lauraspencer.
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