Artist Kristina Libby honors COVID-19 victims with flower hearts around NYC
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This Greenwich Village woman believes in flower power!
In April, not long after the pandemic forced New Yorkers into virtual lockdown, artist Kristina Libby began laying floral hearts around the city — a touching tribute to those who’ve lost loved ones to COVID-19.
Fast forward 10 months and Libby has now placed more than 40 wreaths around town, including in Times Square, Bryant Park, Herald Square, Central Park and Brooklyn Bridge Park.
“Flowers were a natural medium because they are such a normal sympathy gift and hearts were just an easy message of love,” Libby, 36, told The Post. “I just felt called to do something at the start. People needed to know we saw them, loved them and supported them even though we could not physically be near those who were dying.”
On Friday, the Manhattan woman layed a floral wreath made of pink, lilac and white roses in front of the iconic Sybil’s Bakery, the “crown jewel of Little Guyana” in Richmond Hill, Queens.
The gesture was symbolic. As of Tuesday night, the city reported that Richmond Hill had the highest positivity rate — 16.31 % — across the five boroughs.
The Manhattan woman said she decided to do something last spring after failing to see the “flowers, photos, ribbons” one would see following mass traumatic events like 9/11. The wreaths cost her between $400 and $600 and usually two hours to make.
As the project has grown, Libby — who was born in Maine and moved to the city from Dallas in 2017 — said the hearts “have become tiny sacred spaces for … communities to mourn, share stories, hold vigils and connect. And, for those not directly impacted, I think it sparks a small amount of joy, brings hope and creates community.”
Within the next week, Libby plans to lay wreaths in Dallas, Seattle and Jersey City, the latter of which will take place Jan. 19 to coincide with President-elect Joe Biden’s nationwide tribute to honor COVID-19 victims.
As part of her Floral Heart Project, Libby created a digital projection installation piece that uses a floral petal “for every person who has died timed to the date of their death. The digital timeline shows the enormity of those lost daily to COVID-19 in a visual living memorial.
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