Discover Colombia Through Its Heart

With the family in town over Labor Day weekend I was a frequent visitor to Union Station. Picking up and dropping off the fam for Amtrak and taking my young niece on the DCDucks (which I knew she’d get a kick out of).

Union Station is currently the epicenter of a promotion by the Colombian Embassy called Discover Colombia Through Its Heart. The exhibit which runs from September 5th through 15th includes 47 larger than life sculptures – seven interactive 13-foot heart sculptures displayed in Washington’s Union Station, and 40 eight-foot heart sculptures.

Allicia from ReadysetDC has written a great comprehensive post on the exhibit’s background and the event calendar so I won’t rehash that. To be balanced I’ll make you aware of an human rights group’s response called No More Broken Hearts that opposes this PR campaign and the proposed Free Trade Agreement being discussed in Congress.

In front of the DC Historical Society at Mount Vernon Square

One of 7 interactive hearts inside the main hall of Union Station

Three of the hearts outside the front of Union Station

Getting past the Colombia specific politics of this particular exhibit do you enjoy or dislike these kind of temporary art installations? I know not everyone agrees but I enjoyed the Party Animals in 2002 and the Pandamania (flickr) in 2004 and generally support more of these organized citywide public art endeavors.

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  1. 1

    kimberlyfayebaker says

    I actually enjoy the temporary art installations… usually. These are a different story. I loved the Party Animals and sought to photograph most of them. The Pandas were cute and I enjoyed the globes at the Botanic Gardens last summer. These hearts, however, I think are just plain tacky. I'm not all that interested in what Colombia has to offer and am really unsure as to why they're in Washington DC. But that's just me. :)

  2. 2

    FourthandEye says

    @KimberlyFayeBaker – I agree with some of your sentiment. I'm not very interested in what Colombia has to offer. While I don't love the message attached to these hearts everything is relative. The fact that the hearts are limited to 10 days as opposed to a whole summer (like pandamania) makes ignoring the message and focusing on the art possible for me.

    I like to see new things add color and vibrancy to the city. Makes walking around everyday less sterile. Strolling around the neighborhood and seeing new art feels good. It counterbalances the bad or gross things I see every week. Last night walking through Techworld Plaza a rat came out of nowhere and ran straight into my foot. On Saturday walking the neighborhood with my family we cross paths with a homeless man who had two feet long stains on his trousers showing where he shit himself :(

  3. 3

    washingtonydc says

    you know, I like the hearts and am glad to see something different than animals (what city hasn't had painted animals strewn about?).

    I think it's a pretty good way for Colombia to make people think about the country, at least for a moment, in a context that doesn't include narcotics or kidnapping. Twice over the labor day weekend, I stopped to examine a heart more closely because it caught my attention by mentioning something I wasn't expecting (I don't normally see Gabriel Garcia Marquez displays walking down 7th St).

  4. 4

    Dino says

    I lived in Bogotá for the two years before I moved into 555 Mass in 2008 and gotta say it was safer and way more vibrant than anything "new downtown" DC has to offer. Good on them for getting out a good and true message.

  5. 5

    Scenic Artisan says

    the hearts surprised me and i like being surprised by art installations.
    especially temporary ones.

    i think its fun to have things like that.

  6. 6

    Anonymous says

    I love temporary art installations – it is always evolving the landscape of a city. Eye candy, new views every time you walk down streets that you think you know.