Heart and Scroll is the community art project for the 2024 Salem Arts Festival, led by student artist Jessica Valatka and public artists Linda Mullen and Claudia Paraschiv.

Cardboard is primarily used today to deliver products to our doors instantly and at unseen cost to the environment. Amazon and UPS trucks are a daily sight on our streets, with their cargo of goods destined for almost every home, all packaged in cardboard boxes. This packaging symbolizes productivity, profit, and the money we spend to keep these wheels in motion. Cardboard boxes hold so much that we need in our daily lives, both real and perceived.

There is a cost, however, to this convenience and consumerism.  We are running out of places to put the cardboard – recycling facilities can’t keep up with the demand, and the trickle-down effects of this are that retail shops are overflowing with cardboard, as are our homes and residential recycling bins.

Cardboard holds physical items we wish to live with. Are there non-physical items it might also hold? What is important to us? What really matters? What can’t cardboard hold?

This art project invites people to deconstruct these boxes, rip them up, peel back the layers, get up close, and consider this ubiquitous material. 

Once deconstructed, we invite people to write or draw on pieces of torn cardboard and reflect on this question:

What values do you want to live by?

Participants then roll up their cardboard “scrolls” and select strips of upcycled fabric to weave, wrap, knot, and braid the bundle together (wrapping symbolizes tenderness and care across many cultures). Individual bundles will join others, holding and representing our collective values. Participants may add layer of meaning to their scroll by choosing specific colors to represent values that the outside world might see.

Heart & Scroll is led by Salem High student Jessica Valatka with mentor public artists Linda Mullen & Claudia Paraschiv. The completed project will be displayed at the Salem Arts Festival on June 7-9.

Heart & Scroll is supported by the Salem Public Arts Commission, Goldberg Properties, the Salem Rainbow Stroll, other local business community sponsors, and a Salem Cultural Council grant.

Pink:  love, pets, community, family, friendship

Key word:  People (pets are people too)

Orange:  music, art, culture, building, creativity, imagination

Key word:  Creativity

Blue:  sky, air, ocean, water, nature, wonder, reflection

Key words:  Natural World

Yellow:  happiness, fun, freedom, energy, positivity

Kew words:  energy

All bundles made will be collected and displayed in a tbd location