By Elizabeth Crea
On Friday, Dec. 9 at 11:30 a.m., a giant heart will be installed in downtown Beloit at the intersection of State and E. Grand Street. This project, Spread the Red, will not only be an artistic feat, it will also benefit members of the Beloit community after its completion. It will be made entirely out of warm, red-spectrum clothing which will then be donated to local organizations.
After weeks of gathering sweaters, scarves, socks, hats, gloves, blankets, etc. in various shades of red, violet and pink, Spread the Red volunteers will build the heart to convey the message of warmth and community during the holiday season. Becky Moffett, museum assistant at the Wright Museum of Art, is a volunteer who is excited about the final outcome of the project. “It’s all about fun,” she says. “The heart will be simple, and it’ll eventually grow bigger and bigger with more donations in the ‘heart’ of Beloit.”
The whole installation will be quick, lasting about half an hour. It will be videotaped, sped up through editing and posted online so viewers can watch the building process. Afterwards, all of the items from the installation will be donated to the Beloit Domestic Violence Center, Caritas, Hands of Faith and Merill Community Center.
Beloit is not the first town to complete this project. ColorCorps, a non-profit organization created in 2011, paints different communities across the nation in different colors to portray positive messages of hope. They call the movement “optical optimism.” Other cities that have spread the red include Atlanta, Chicago, New York and San Francisco. In fact, on the ColorCorps website, a map is dotted with participating cities in the US, and there is a tiny heart right over Beloit.
Our Beloit connection to ColorCorps is Anne Goodwin, a Beloit resident who, according to Moffett, “is always looking for fun and creative things to do” around town. Beloiters, Danica Slavish ‘12 and Brittany Leonard ‘13 are also advertising Spread the Red and collecting donations through the Campus and Community Outreach Center.
All of campus is invited to attend this event, and Beloit students can help the cause in two ways: donations and participation. “Please look around campus for the Spread the Red labeled cardboard boxes to donate your red clothing, bedding and accessories,” Slavish says. Donation boxes have been set up at the Center for the Sciences, Godfrey, World Affairs Center, the library, the mail center and DK’s. There are also boxes located off campus at Bushel and Peck’s, Beloit Public Library and The Villager. Please be sure to donate new or gently used warm items in all shades of red by Tuesday, Dec. 6 before the sorting process begins. Students can also volunteer to help install the heart downtown. Slavish and Leonard are looking to recruit students to help set up the tarp beforehand, then the actual installation. If interested, you may contact the CCOC at firstname.lastname@example.org to sign up.
For more information about ColorCorps, visit http://www.projectcolorcorps.org.