Write love to what you love…
Sine 2004, writer and arts educator Lindsay Zier-Vogel has been writing love poems for The Love Lettering Project, turning them into over 2000 one-of-a-kind paper collages slipped into airmail envelopes marked “love,” then distributing them anonymously to be discovered later by strangers.
The Love Lettering Project is a community arts engagement project bringing love letters to strangers. It has the capacity to transform strangers’ relationship to public space and their communities through social engagement.
The Love Lettering Project has transcended local media and has been featured in national media for the last two years, including on CBC Television’s The National, Global National News, CTV’s Canada AM, The Toronto Star, Toronto Life, The Globe and Mail and CBC Radio’s Definitely Not the Opera and World Report. (More press details here).
In addition to speaking engagements about community art projects, in 2013, , Lindsay will be heading out on a 5-city UK tour, with funding from the Canada Council for the Arts and Indiegogo supporters. She will be partnering with various British arts organizations and events in London, Bristol, Brighton, Nottingham and Liverpool and asking folks across the pond to write love letters to their communities. More on the events here!
In 2012, with funding from The Awesome Foundation, Lindsay embarked on a 14-event Toronto tour, collaborating with community events and arts organizations such as Harbourfront Centre’s Canada Day festival, Celebrate Yonge Street Festival and Kensington Market’s street festival. Using paper donated from The Paper Place and Coach House Books, over 1,000 love letters were created and distributed throughout Toronto in a single summer. More on the events here!
Also in 2012, Tourism Toronto commissioned Lindsay to create 500 love letters to spread Toronto-love in Las Vegas and London, England.
There are three key components to the project:
1). Reflecting on what you love about the city you live in
The shift in perspective from seeing what needs to be fixed to what works in a city is a powerful shift indeed. This social engagement promotes a greater sense of well-being and civic pride.
2). The creation of the love letter as an art object
The project provides an opportunity for members of the community to engage with the written word and paper arts in a judgment-free, accessible forum.
3). Individuals take their love letter and hide it anonymously for a stranger to find
This final step asks participants to further engage with their physical community, hiding their love letter for a stranger to find with no personal agenda other than the simple pleasure of sharing joy.
Love, write, deliver…
When she’s not love lettering, Lindsay works as a writer, bookbinder and arts educator. She studied contemporary dance at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, received her B.A. as an English Specialist at the University of Toronto and has completed an M.A. in Creative Writing at the University of Toronto under the advisorship of award winning novelist, Anne Michaels. She has since received funding for her work from the Ontario, Canada and Toronto Arts Councils.
She has been speaking about community engagement and The Love Lettering Project at the Toronto Public Library and at Victoria College at the University of Toronto. In April 2013, she will be speaking about community engagement in Montreal through the University of the Streets program.
She is currently seeking a publisher for her novel titled, “The Opposite of Drowning,” and is working on her second novel. Lindsay’s writing has been published in various literary journals including The Lampeter Review, Taddle Creek, Descant, and Grain and has been working as an arts educator in the schools and communities of Toronto and Vancouver since 2001.
History of The Love Lettering Project
The Love Lettering Project began as a writing project in 2004, as an exploration of what a love poem could be. Rhya Tamasauskas and Lindsay Zier-Vogel turned these writing exercises into small one-of-a-kind art pieces, popped them into envelopes and left them in phone booths and newspaper boxes and fruit markets. It was an impromptu event that filled Zier-Vogel with such joy, she’s been doing it ever since and have delivered over a thousand anonymous one-of-a-kind love letters.
I (2004): Whispers of love: an impromptu project born out of a writing exercise that saw the first letters left in phone booths, in bins of cherries at fruit markets, in gardens, on park benches, under windshield wipers on parked cars…
II (2006): Library love: Irving Layton to Baudelaire, first editions to brand new books, Nabokov in Russian, plays, poetry, fiction and everything in between…
III (2007): Tree love: “Odes on brambles and elegies on hawthorns” a tree in Trinity Bellwoods Park was papered in love letters…
IV: (2008): Bike love: love poems to magnolia trees, wheat beer, old Penguin edition books, May and so many other lovely bits all tied to strangers’ bikes…
V (2009): First kisses: Zier-Vogel wrote poems about people’s first kisses and delivered the envelopes to these places…behind ice rinks, movie theatres, basements, behind churches, porches, driveways, school playgrounds…
VI (2010): On the move: The Love Lettering Project saw drops in Halifax, Montreal, Montreal, Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Victoria, Washington, D.C. and Marquette, Nebraska.
VII (2011): Toronto love: The 2011 incarnation of the project was the most ambitious and involved the created and anonymous distribution of 500 love letters. In the spring of 2011, Zier-Vogel asked people to tell her their favourite things about Toronto and wrote love poems to these places – the lake, Romni Wools, the water treatment building in the east end, Mount Pleasant cemetery – and Zier-Vogel decided not to make between 80-100 love letters the way she had in the past, but instead made 500 one-of-a-kind love letters and hid them all over the city.
Community engagement: Later in 2011, Zier-Vogel began developing The Love Lettering Project as a community-generated project through the Toronto Public Library system during 2011 Culture Days and at the launch of the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Family Learning Centre. It was wonderful to see what people from all ages and different corners of the city love about Toronto – ravines, the CN Tower, the cherry trees in High Park…
VIII (2012): Love, write, deliver… In 2012, with funding from The Awesome Foundation, Lindsay embarked on a 14-event Toronto tour, collaborating with community events and arts organizations such as Harbourfront Centre’s Canada Day festival, Celebrate Yonge Street Festival and Kensington Market’s street festival. Over 1,000 love letters were created and distributed throughout Toronto in a single summer.