The ‘Floral Heart Project‘ is a national movement created by New York City artist Kristina Libby. The movement honors those who’ve died from COVID-19 and provides support for people who have experienced a loss or hardship during the pandemic.
Burlington floral designer Jayson Munn became inspired by Libby’s movement and created a memorial on Church Street Marketplace.
“I thought I was really touching and moving, I thought it would be wonderful to have something in the public square here in Burlington,” Munn said.
Munn said the heart represents everyone who has suffered from the pandemic.
“I think it will give people an opportunity to grieve to pause for a moment, to see some beauty, in such a devastating time and loss for our country,” Munn said.
There are 204 roses laid out and each one represents a Vermonters life that was lost.
Katherine Arthaud volunteered to be a part of the experience.
“As I did it I tried to do it slowly and think, this is a life, each one was a person that had loves and adventures and stories and loved ones,” Arthaud said.
Many people experienced loss in other forms, just like a loss of a family business owned for over 30 years.
“We tried to survive for the past year and we hit a point where there just wasn’t enough to keep it going,” Leah Gimbutas said.
Gimbutas lives on Church Street and when she looked out her window she saw the flowers.
“Having this out here it felt really nice, it kinda feels like a hug, social distanced hug,” Gimbutas said.
She’s 20 years old but feels as if the pandemic stole her age.
“I feel like I have lost all the connections to being a kid again, and what I grew up with were flowers, I grew up with gardens and seeing something beautiful and bright for the first time in months is reassuring,” Gimbutas said.
The flowers offer hope during these devastating times.