Welcome to Mind the Heart! Project. Please press the links below if to you wish to see:
A selected portfolio of works
Recent partnerships and CV
An interactive map that shows what it means to let strangers dictate where you go
An archive of posts
A deeper understanding of the artistic concepts, materials and practices
And now a little background:
Mind the Heart! (est. 2009) is a worldwide art project by Israeli artists Maya Gelfman & Roie Avidan.
In the past decade, the project has reached more than 100 cities across 5 continents: from New York to Bangkok, Sydney to London, from the Israel National Museum and the National Cathedral in D.C. to orphanages in Kenya and Uganda.
The project works at the intersection of art and social awareness. It engages the public domain with the aim of getting both the artists and the audiences to be fully present, to ‘be here now’. This is achieved through street art, temporary nature installations and rituals, public interactions and lectures. The works are made with tangible materials (yarn, felt, duct-tape, found-objects) that clash with the concrete jungle. They deal with the power of choice, the cyclical nature of things, acknowledging wounds in order to heal, and interconnectedness.
Back in 2009, searching for ways to facilitate a direct connection to their surroundings, the artists stepped outside, literally, and constructed a framework that explores the ways in which people, objects, cities, and nature interact with one another. They honed their “active-wandering” method and set out to find out whether a small and personal action became transparent in the urban turmoil or, contrarily, got a new meaning within that context.
Nowadays, by utilizing performative practices – social, artistic, philosophical and physical – the project creates works that are informed by the present moment. The art is always context driven, reflecting not just the artists’ point of view but also the direct influence of the place, time and people there.
Stepping out also meant working not only in the realm of the “art world” and the “white cubes” but in the realm of daily life and the “grey streets” as well, while facilitating a back and forth flow between the two worlds.
In July 2017, Gelfman & Avidan embarked on a year-long performance across the USA, with Serendipity the leading force. The goal was: full immersion. If being present is about Being Here Now, the artists chose to maximize that ‘now’ by cutting away the past and the perceived control of the future. After giving away all their possessions, home and studios, they arrived in a new land where they knew no one and placed themselves completely in the hands of the unknown: letting strangers dictate the route, schedule and daily experiences, all the while committing to the creative process in which they not only created their own works daily, but also invited communities to actively participate in the project.
Serendipity has proven to be an incredible force. It led the project to 43 states, creating and speaking in hundreds of spaces and partnerships with numerous partners. A selected list of recent partners in the U.S. includes: City of Houston TX, City of Portsmouth NH, City of Decatur GA, City of Truth or Consequences NM, Hillary Clinton Children’s Library in Little Rock AR, Rice University TX, Halcyon House D.C., Washington National Cathedral D.C., The Smithsonian D.C., The ARC West D.C., State University of Kennesaw GA, University of Central Arkansas, The New School Atlanta GA, Savannah Country Day School GA, Atlanta Center for Civic Innovation GA, Building 98 in Marfa TX, Creative Discovery Museum TN, Re-imagine End of Life CA.
The project has also been featured in dozens of media outlets – print, online, television and radio – as well as in three international art books, in Germany, France & Colombia.
Recent coverage includes Culture Map Houston, Atlanta Jewish Times, Street Art NYC and for Hebrew speakers: Israel Today.
Mind the Heart! Project is always looking for partners for:
* Commissioned pieces, indoors or outdoors.
* Talks, lectures and masterclasses.
Through this website we strive to weave the project’s journey and core values into one visual story:
How a simple wish – to encourage passersby to be mindful of themselves, their surroundings and their neighbors – grew to become a worldwide art project.
It all started with a question we asked each other: “At the end of the day when you go to sleep, what five things needed to happen that day so that you to say: this was a good one?” The answer led us to dismantle our lives as we know it in pursuit of these core values of meaning and joy and has now evolved into a 365/24/7 quest across America
Our talk encompasses all these stories and touches on subjects such as: using mindfulness and sensory input as means to create something new, art as a catalyst for change, finding your own core values, serendipity as a leading force, fine art vs. street art and more. These subjects are relevant to a wide variety of audiences and the talk is tweaked as to fit the audiences age, background, context, education, etc. We’ve done it in universities, companies and galleries, from rocket scientists to DACA Dreamers to art spaces to churches to ex-cons in back alleys.