East Dallas artist Karen Blessen, who we talked with in March about her nonprofit MasterPEACE, has been working on a one-time project for months, and everything is coming to culmination this weekend with the memorial of John F. Kennedy in Dallas.
The Dallas LOVE Project features more than 30,000 works of art created by people in Dallas, and each piece features a quote or lyric about love.
The artists range the gamut, from professionals to students to women or men in area jails or homeless facilities around Dallas. For each piece, the artist first listened to a prepared lesson about the project, which covered a historical overview of America at the the time of the Kennedy assassination as well as what Dallas was like at the time. At the time, there was hundreds of hate posters around Dallas, Blessen says. The LOVE project is a response to the posters of hate. The lesson also included a discussion about what love is and how we use it.
Blessen believes in the power of art and hopes this project will help redefine the city of Dallas, which has shouldered the assassination of President Kennedy for 50 years this week.
“I would like people to talk about Dallas as being a city that has compassion,” Blessen says.
Blessen and her team began setting up the pieces in various galleries around Dallas on Sept. 21, the International Day of Peace, and they finished setting them up this week. On Nov. 22, the anniversary of Kennedy’s assassination, all the galleries displaying the art will be open. On Nov. 25, Blessen and her team will begin phasing the project out, taking the pieces down bit by bit.
As they’re taken down, most of the pieces will be boxed up and sent to institutions or places where people can’t visit them, such as nursing homes, jails, hospitals or prisons. “It seems like perfect symmetry for the project,” Blessen says.
There’s a map of the exhibits available on the website, as well as more information about the Dallas LOVE Project. The official Open House is Saturday, Nov. 23, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., when all the venues displaying the art will be open to the public.
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