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Building Community with a Neon Sign ❤️

Hello <<First Name>>,

Several months ago, we gave you a behind-the-scenes look into the design and construction of a neon sculpture we designed and built with Element Ten. We created this sculpture for the Parade of Hearts - a public art exhibition in Kansas City - to serve as a call to unity in a polarized community. As of Tuesday, the piece, titled Blurred Lines, is now available for the public to visit in person! (Details on where to find it about halfway down this page.)
Glamour shot of Blurred Lines in a photography studio before being placed for the event. Photo credit: Parade of Hearts

It took a wild 2020

The Parade of Hearts originally began an idea for a fundraiser for the cardiology department at The University of Kansas Health System (a.k.a. "KU Med"). When COVID-19, racial unrest, political division rocked the Kansas City metro area, the event's organizers began to realize that it could have a much broader and deeper impact than they had originally intended. Over the course of the construction of the hearts and the exhibition so far, donations from the public have have not only raised funds for KU Med, but also for education and childcare, small and minority-owned businesses, hospitality and tourism, and local Kansas City artists like the ones we collaborated with.

To learn more about the mission of the Parade of Hearts, check out this interview on a local KC nonprofit podcast:
When I (Neal) first heard about the Parade of Hearts in 2021, Heidt and Depth was only two months old. I had left my steady job in an engineering firm to focus on the kinds of architecture projects that built stronger communities, so when I learned about the Parade of Hearts and how its purpose was to use art to draw people together, I knew I wanted to Heidt and Depth involved somehow. At this point, I had been interested in collaborating with Element Ten (and their predecessor Steinmetz Neon) for several years. When the Parade of Hearts presented itself as an opportunity to work with them, both companies realized it was an opportunity we couldn't resist.

It took a village lots of villages

We would be remiss to say that this project only happened and has been as successful as it has been because we were in the right place at the right time. From the business and neon production mentoring tree that includes Steinmetz Neon and Element Ten, to those who made the Parade of Hearts possible, to the ongoing mentions and rave reviews of Blurred Lines on social media, we wouldn't have been able to make this project happen without the support of dozens of networks (communities) of people. We would like to give a shoutout to the following specifically:
Element Ten and Neal at a reception for the Parade of Hearts artists. Photo credit: Element Ten
  • The Parade of Hearts
  • Element Ten
  • Randy Steinmetz, for bending glass for Blurred Lines
  • nbkc bankthe official sponsor of Blurred Lines
  • Dimensional Innovations for sorting out the insane logistics behind the event and for featuring Blurred Lines in multiple social media posts
  • Whiskey Design, for providing a home for Blurred Lines during the exhibition 
  • Camryn Nicole Photography, a KC-based portrait photographer who lent us equipment to document the construction process (more details below)
  • The Kansas City Star for featuring Blurred Lines on their website

How to see Blurred Lines in person

You can find Blurred Lines at 821 W 17th St in Kansas City, Missouri.

If you take photos when you visit - whether at night or in daylight - please send us your photos and social media posts and we will share them on our social media pages (crediting them to you).

While you're at it, you can download the Parade of Hearts app to scavenger hunt for all 154 hearts across the KC metro region.

If you visit the Blurred Lines page on the Parade of Hearts website or app, you can also read about the design rationale and donate to the Parade of Hearts.

Blurred Lines will only be on display until sometime in May 2022. From there it will be auctioned off with proceeds going to the Parade of Hearts's charitable causes.
It rained on the night Blurred Lines was placed. Photo credits: Element Ten

Behind the scenes!


Heart and soul (a sneak peak)

As I mentioned earlier, April marks the 1-year anniversary of Heidt and Depth's founding. It's been a wild ride, but with providence and some magical connections, we've been able to touch hundreds of lives through community planning, design, construction, and public art. Next month, we will be sharing with you a project we recently completed that took us back to our roots (circa 2018). We've always shared with you the heart behind our work - and in the case of this newsletter, that quite literally took the form of a heart-shaped sculpture - but next month we'll share with you the soul behind Heidt and Depth.
Photo credit: Engineering Ministries International
Happy Friday!

Neal Heidt
Placemaking Strategist | Heidt and Depth | 303-519-9453

Copyright © 2022 Neal Heidt, All rights reserved.

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