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What if we wrote a thousand love letters in two weeks? Read more

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$4,184
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This project was successfully funded on January 17, 2013.

What if we wrote a thousand love letters in two weeks?

Dalia Shevin
Project by

Dalia Shevin

First created  |  1 backed

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About this project

One Thousand Love Letters will be a two week participatory art installation in Brattleboro, Vermont. We will renovate an industrial storefront, make it warm and beautiful, and invite the community to come in, sit down, and write their hearts out. Folks are invited to write a love letter and view love letters written by others who wish to display them during the course of the project.

 How exciting! you say. I just have a few questions.

Please! Ask away!

Where did you get this idea?

                   A letter about love letters

Dear You-

A few weeks ago, I was on a long drive, with lots of time to think. I had just been with my family, around Thanksgiving. My Grandma passed away in July, and we had spent some time over the holiday sorting through her photos, recipes and letters. I found some of my letters to her- some she had saved for almost thirty years. On the drive home, I thought a lot about her, and about letters. When I got home, I pulled out my own giant box of them.  Letters and postcards from my parents, my sister, long-lost friends, old loves, strangers who had been moved by my writing, gracious replies from some of my favorite authors, a bundle of precious letters from my sweetheart.

I went through them, laughing and cringing and swooning and crying. I thought, "These are the most sacred things I own." I thought, "The hours I've spent writing to my loved ones are some of the most important of my life."

I marvel at the tremendous power of a small good thing you can hold in your hands.

I believe in the power of words. I believe in love, and in love letters. I want to write more of them. I want there to BE more of them. At least one thousand, to be exact. Will you help me make this happen?

Love, Dalia

What do you mean, a love letter?

Although letters of romantic love will certainly be written, in the context of this project a love letter may express any number of things. It could be a thank-you note, a letter of solidarity, a letter of condolence, an anonymous secret admirer message, a child's drawing for her parent, a note of appreciation to your motorcycle, a letter of gratitude to an author or musician, an elegy for an extinct species or perhaps an ode to your beloved dog.The possibilities are endless.

Why are you raising money?

The biggest expense will be the rental and renovation of the project site- we're subletting it from the soon-to-be-opened Vermont School of Fine Handcrafts. It's a beautiful space, but pretty rough- it used to be an auto parts store, and it needs to be cleaned and painted, with new walls and shelves built before we can invite people in. In addition to building materials, paint, cleaning supplies and furniture, we need to buy writing materials, coffee and tea, and pay for copying posters and other promotional materials. This is the very bare minimum of the funds we need to carry out the project- if we exceed our goal, we can do things like pay for postage, feed our volunteer staffers, and make our backer rewards even more beautiful and exciting.

Can I have a few more details?

But of course!

 The space will be open from noon to seven from February 1st to February 14th, with a twenty-four hour marathon on February 9th. The marathon will be our tribute to the delirious, uninhibited letters that can only be written in the middle of the night! Perhaps we will write love letters to sleep deprivation itself! The project will end with an evening of letter reading and music on February 15th. Letters will be mailed at the end of the project or made available for participants to pick-up.

The letters will be written and displayed (some sealed and some open for reading) in a temporary studio and gallery located in the storefront of the former Sanel Auto Parts building at 47 Flat Street. The space will be transformed by local artists into a beautiful environment providing a warm spot to sit in the dead of winter and relax into the tactile experience of handwriting or typing a love letter. Side by side with neighbors and strangers, participants will have the opportunity to write their hearts out. Visitors will also be able to view some of the love letters on display during the run of the project.

This project will also be a love letter to the people of Vermont, an expression of love for the act of letter writing itself, and a love letter to our imperiled United States postal system. Folks can write as many letters as they want, of any length. Materials will be supplied, and writing prompts will be available to help get you started.  All you need to bring is a desire to express your love.

                   Please donate! Please participate! Thanks for reading!


Risks and challenges

There's already a lot of excitement around this project- people are committing to staffing the space, thinking about who they'll be writing to, borrowing typewriters, and generally getting inspired! Although I can't forsee all the challenges that may arise, I'm confident that we have enough support in our community to make this thing fly.

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FAQ

  • No. No, I cannot. I mean, wow. Thank you, people. From the bottom of my astounded heart.

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  • That is a beautiful question, friend. Thanks to the aforementioned outpouring of support, we now have the opportunity to dream bigger. From the feedback we've been getting, it's clear that this idea has relevance and scope far beyond the duration of our project. We've already been in communication with people who are committing to doing this project in their own communities, so we're now considering Brattleboro as the first of many such installations. If we can properly document this event and the process of making it happen, the possibilities for the future are endless. I have no idea where this could go, but I dearly want to find out. So if you're wondering too, please don't hesitate to donate. Let's surprise ourselves even more sweetly than we already have.

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  • We're working hard to make a blog that will be ongoing during and after the Brattleboro event. People will be able to see pictures and read some of the letters, and find out what folks in other places are doing with this idea. When it's up, we'll post the address here.

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  • Oh my, yes! You have lots of options.

    -Write your own letter, or ten, and let us know about it. We'll make a visual note of it on our blog during the project--something like "On February 5th 2013, Sophie Hannah wrote to her dear dog Sparky. They live in Lima, Ohio."

    -Mail your open letter (or a copy) to Brattleboro. We'll display it on site during the project.

    -Have your own letter writing party in February! Tell us all about it, so we can tell the world!

    -Set yourself a challenge, and do it. Maybe it's a number of letters you pledge to write, maybe it's finally reaching out to someone you've missed for twenty years. Do something a little scary. It will be amazing.

    -Donate a few bucks, and we'll keep you posted on where this thing goes next. And if you can help us dream, please do! It will be a mighty brainstorm indeed.

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Rewards

  • You selected
    Pledge $5 or more

    2 backers

    Our loudest cheer for you, and your name on display at the site for the duration of the project, in our first open love letter of thanks!

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $10 or more

    19 backers

    A postcard of love and thanks featuring original artwork made on site, mailed to your home, plus a thank-you on display.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $20 or more

    14 backers

    All of the above, plus a personal postcard mailed to you every month for three months.

    Estimated delivery:
    Only ships to: United States
  • You selected
    Pledge $30 or more

    29 backers

    All of the above, plus a beautiful silkscreened "Write Your Heart Out" tee shirt mailed to you.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $75 or more

    9 backers Limited (21 left of 30)

    Everything above, plus a signed, original print of the "Your Heart Is A Muscle" block print.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $150 or more

    3 backers Limited (17 left of 20)

    Everything above, plus a tiny, personal "mailbox" on site for the duration of the project, to be filled with letters, grateful notes and surprises. This exciting package will be delivered directly to your door via our beloved United States (or international) Postal System.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world
  • You selected
    Pledge $250 or more

    4 backers Limited (6 left of 10)

    Wow! Who are you? I would like to send you all of the above, plus a sweet letter and original drawing on your next birthday.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships anywhere in the world

Funding period

- (20 days)