"Burning Love," fire sculpture by Keith D’Angelo. Courtesy photo.
"Burning Love," fire sculpture by Keith D’Angelo. Courtesy photo.

On Valentine’s Day weekend, Feb. 13 and 14, the American Heart Association and Carbondale Creative District host Light the Night with Love. The “illuminated HeArt walk” takes place on a one-half mile stretch of the Rio Grande Trail, from DeRail Park (the ARTway arch) to the Latinx Folk Art Garden on 8th Street.
The event features 20 light-themed, multi-media art installations incorporating fire, dance, jump roping, music and film. All participants are volunteering their time and event proceeds benefit the American Heart Association (AHA).
The initial concept came to Barbara Gabrielle Frota, the event’s creative director, after attending an illuminated art walk at the Denver Botanic Gardens.
Carbondale Arts (CA) Executive Director Amy Kimberly and Frota talked about creating an event along the ARTway last year, pre-COVID, but were not sure of the logistics. Frota presented the idea to CA again in October. Kimberly says, “I just knew now was the time.”
Frota recalls, “Last year was a big reminder of how, even if we can’t control what’s going on outside of ourselves, we can always focus inward and cultivate our own light, cultivate our joy, our love, and focus in on that which inspires us.”
Molly DeMarr works for the American Heart Association as youth market director, serving about one fourth of Colorado, including the Western Slope. DeMarr remembers reading Frota’s event proposal; she knew it was a perfect match for celebrating AHA’s National Heart Month. She notes that, “Raising awareness and bringing kindness into people’s hearts during some of our darkest months and during National Heart Month is pretty incredible.”
According to AHA, cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of women, causing one in three deaths each year — more than all cancers combined.
On average, AHA also cites, Hispanic women are likely to develop heart disease ten years earlier than non-Hispanics. One reason for the higher numbers may be, as DeMarr says, “the role of [women] being the caretaker, taking care of everyone’s needs above their own.”

"My Heart's on Fire," fire sculpture by Keith D’Angelo. Courtesy photo.
“My Heart’s on Fire,” fire sculpture by Keith D’Angelo. Courtesy photo.
“My Heart’s on Fire,” fire sculpture by Keith D’Angelo. Courtesy photo.

In support of the event, Kenna Crampton of KDNK is busy collecting “Love Lines.” These recorded messages will be part of KDNK’s programming on Feb 14. You can call KDNK now at 970.510.3250 to share your message of love. “Love Lines” will be accepted through Feb 12 and any person in any language is welcome to call at any time.
Aly Sanguily, event co-organizer and owner of Batch, will spin tunes as DJ Mama Bird at the event on Saturday and Sunday night. From 6 to 9 p.m. on Sunday, DJ Crème Brûlée (identity unknown) will be at KDNK’s studio with a special love song playlist simultaneously broadcast on-air and at the event.
The light theme continues with a Rio Grande Trail lined with farolitos — from the Spanish word farol, meaning lantern. Farolito kits are available for purchase online at the CA website or in-person at The Launchpad or The Property Shop at 1117 Grand Avenue in Glenwood Springs. Decorated farolitos should be returned to HeArt mailboxes, designed and decorated by Amber Sparkles, no later than Feb. 11.
In the fall of 2020, 5Point Film and VOICES, two Carbondale-based nonprofits, teamed up with Bridges High School to create the 5Point Film VOICES Youth Film Project. Film projects from this partnership will also be screened in an outdoor viewing space.
Bonedale Ballet will perform two flash mobs on Saturday and another on Sunday. Other entertainment includes the Claim Jumpers Jump Rope Team, based out of Littleton, Colorado, performing a series of choreographed jump rope routines using LED ropes.
Kimberly says, “CA saw this as an important event for this community during the time of COVID, as it will get people out and uplift spirits. As part of our 50th-year celebration, we are trying to have an event every month that fulfills our mission of building an inclusive and equitable community through art. Light the Night is just that kind of event.”
Frota hopes for the event to embody “what we can accomplish when we work together and when we focus on compassion and love.”
A health and safety team will be on hand to encourage social-distancing and masks are required. Reservations for groups of 10 or less can be made by visiting the Carbondale Arts website. Event volunteers are still needed. Information on volunteering and more are also at carbondalearts.com