Be In the Know

Be In the Know. Sign up to have DesignDestinations delivered right to your inbox, weekly.

Hearts-a-Bluhm in Chicago

I arrived in Chicago the day AFTER the big snowstorm expecting to see lots of snow and I did.  What I didn’t expect and thoroughly enjoyed were the hundred colorful and artistic acrylic HEARTS lined up on both sides of Michigan Avenue.

The Hearts, a project sponsored by Northwestern’s Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute, is a fundraiser and a wild splash of eye candy for those of us trudging up and down the street, dodging falling ice and huge piles of snow.

The hearts were embellished and decorated by Columbia College students. I love the fact that Chicago gives space on the street for art and for promoting causes.  One never knows what will be next.  For example, when I was in Chicago in September I enjoyed the Refrigerators on Parade—a program designed to raise awareness of energy efficiency.

I love the hearts.   How fun to break up with bleakness of winter with the vibrantly colored sculptures, reminding us all of the importance of healthy hearts and the prevention of heart disease. Here are my favorites.

Post Author
Susan J. Smith
Susan's career includes writing for newspapers, lots of community work and a wonderful family life. Now she is enjoying traveling, photography and writing for DesignDestinations and Grand Rapids Magazine. She welcomes you on her journey and appreciates your comments.


  1. posted by
    Nancie Billingsley
    Feb 10, 2011 Reply

    Thanks for sharing the hearts. My daughter goes to Columbia but didn’t tell me about them. There are some talented artists there! I love Chicago!

  2. posted by
    Feb 10, 2011 Reply

    They were absolutely marvelous. What a great project for her school to be involved in…..hope you get to Chicago to see them.

  3. posted by
    Kate D.
    Feb 11, 2011 Reply

    Were there any that WEREN’T your favorite? What a great project! I wish I could have a nice guy peek into my stonewalled heart like the one you showed from both sides… 🙂 Thanks, Susan.

  4. posted by
    Deborah Sanderson
    Feb 11, 2011 Reply

    Such bright spots of color in the middle of a grey winter! I love Chicago’s spirit! I also love that Chicago gives space for promoting art and causes. Thanks so much for sharing this — from a former Chicagoan!

  5. posted by
    Jeffrey Heydt
    Feb 11, 2011 Reply

    What nice things to say. Your photos were perfect – anyone not able to reach downtown, before the hearts disappear at the end of February, will surely appreciate your selection. Thank you!

  6. posted by
    Feb 11, 2011 Reply

    Thank you for your nice comments. Much appreciated. It was fun for me to meander up and down the street looking at the different hearts, trying to figure out the best angle and light. This was a challenge on a bustling street that had just received 20 inches of snow.

    To answer your question, Kate, yes, there were some that didn’t appeal to me. Makes sense that there would be since 100 hearts were installed. The ones I didn’t care as much about were the more commercial ones that promoted a casino or restaurant. I’m not opposed to promotion but these were not very original.

  7. posted by
    sallie bowie
    Feb 12, 2011 Reply

    I love this Susan, My son Ryan goes to work off Michigan Ave everyday and didn’t even tell me about these. I am a big heart person, they are all over my house and I wish I had seen these. I guess your new camera is working out well…Thanks for sharing.

  8. posted by
    Sharing some sights of Chicago | DesignDestinations
    Oct 26, 2012 Reply

    […] of the single color.  One time I was here and enjoyed decorated refrigerators.  Another time artistically painted hearts.  One never […]

Leave a Reply