Haida Gwaii residents are joining the Hearts in the Window movement on social media to spread a sense of community while people are social distancing and self-isolating due to COVID-19. (Julia Breese/Facebook photo)

Hearts in windows connect Haida Gwaii residents while social distancing, self-isolating

Window art offsets fear, loneliness with sense of community during COVID-19 pandemic

Haida Gwaii residents are sharing photos of hearts in their windows to spread community and happiness during the COVID-19 crisis.

Port Clements-based StrongStart facilitator Jasmine Beachy told the Observer she was scrolling through social media when she saw people from Vancouver Island and beyond posting photos on a Hearts in the Window Facebook page.

The page, which attracted more than 120,000 members in less than two weeks, encourages people to place colourful hearts in their windows “for all to see to spark joy during these times.”

“I thought that we could use it in our town,” Beachy said, adding that it promotes positivity and gives kids something to do.

ALSO READ: Feds launch ad campaign urging social distancing, hygiene during COVID-19 crisis

She made her own Facebook post and shared it online on March 20, and placed a heart made by her two-year-old son Carter in her window. In the days that followed, her family added more hearts as well as Christmas lights “to bring some light and joy to people.”

“I’d like to see us coming together as a community,” she told the Observer. “Even though we can’t come together physically, we can on social media.”

Port Clements resident and StrongStart facilitator Jasmine Beachy posted a photo of hearts she made with her son Carter, 2, on Facebook on March 27, 2020 as part of the Hearts in the Window movement. (Jasmine Beachy/Facebook photo)

Fellow Port Clements residents Julia Breese and Melisa Campbell were quick to get involved.

Breese thanked Beachy for the idea in her own Facebook post on March 23, adding that she hoped the hearts would spread “some positive vibes out to the world.”

“On Facebook, there’s been some negative energy,” Breese told the Observer, adding that self-isolation can be stressful and lonely. “I believe it’s just because people are afraid, but I felt this was a beautiful way of putting hope and happiness into the community.”

Currently home-schooling her nine-year-old daughter Freya, Breese said they turned Hearts in the Window into a simple art and social studies project.

Port Clements residents Julia Breese and her daughter Freya, 9, chose to add positive messages to their Hearts in the Window art, such as “happiness,” “love,” “joy,” and “you rock.” (Julia Breese/Facebook photo)

“There’s a lot we can’t do, so we have to do what we can do,” she said. “It’s a way of letting your kids be proactive.

“I’m hoping that more people will put the hearts up.”

ALSO READ: Nanaimo neighbourhoods asked to show the love in front windows

Campbell told the Observer she participated in the movement with her daughters Royal and Ryatt, because it’s “a way for the whole community to communicate while social distancing.”

They crafted a total of eight hearts for their front window “for everyone coming into and out of town” to see.

Port Clements resident Melisa Campbell, along with her daughters Royal and Ryatt, got creative making red and pink Hearts in the Window art with cutouts. (Melisa Campbell photo)

“I let my three-year-old and 17-month-old scribble and colour all over them with different colours,” she said. “Pretty cute actually.”

ALSO READ: B.C. family’s sidewalk chalk messages lift spirits in a time of social distancing

Haida Gwaii Recreation, which has suspended all registered, drop-in and supported programs starting the week of March 29, also shared the Hearts in the Window page on Facebook.

Rec staff said they hope more residents will get involved in the movement as well as other activity ideas they have shared for people who are social distancing and self-isolating.

On March 17, staff also shared a low-impact land art activity for residents who are social distancing, but still taking beach walks.

“In a patch of sand, arrange rocks or shells to make art and share your creations with us,” the Facebook post said.

Haida Gwaii resident Jessica Collingridge was inspired by the post and arranged some chestnut husks on the beach in front of GidGalang Kuuyas Naay Secondary School in Queen Charlotte, along with her five-year-old daughter, Thalia.

Jessica Collingridge and her five-year-old daughter Thalia created low-impact land art on a beach in Queen Charlotte while social distancing, using found chestnut husks and “pirate treasure coins.” (Jessica Collingridge/Facebook photo)

Do you have Hearts in the Window or low-impact land art to share? Send to karissa.gall@blackpress.ca.

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