A Love Notes box. Photo by Marlo Bowman

The Love Notes project kicked off this past weekend at Carbondale’s Light the Night with Love event. The project is intended to show community support through art for local LGBTQIA+ youth. 

Love Notes was started by Brijetta Waller, the lead artist for the project, after receiving a grant from Colorado Creative Industries. Funding and support also came from the National Endowment for the Arts and local organizations such as Carbondale Arts and the Anderson Ranch Arts Center. 

As Waller put it, “One of the exciting things that happened with this project was that we put an idea out and everyone said, ‘yes,’ From the arts organizations to the other community partners.” It “shows there is a lot of appetite for positive community support efforts,” she added. 

For the first phase of the project, the involved artists visited local schools in order to create boxes to keep incoming ‘love notes.’ Every middle and high school in the Roaring Fork School District, plus the Aspen School District, is participating. 

Nicola Stringham and Lucy Silcox, two Roaring Fork High School students, both included positive insight in speaking to The Sopris Sun about how this project is “beneficial for raising awareness,” and overall, “really thoughtful.” Stringham and Silcox are both thrilled to be part of a project that not only raises awareness within the schools’ Gay-Straight Alliance (GSA) programs, but among the community. Similarly, the established support reaches the rest of the community as well. 

The second phase entails distributing the numerous (and brightly decorated by local GSA students) love notes boxes all over the Valley. From Feb. 12 through Feb. 20, the community will have plenty of opportunities to leave happy affirmations in support of the LGBTQIA+ youth, from Aspen all the way to Glenwood Springs. As Waller said, it is important to “go out, find a box in your community and participate — and bring a friend.”

For the third and final phase of the Love Notes project, mosaics of the collected love notes which the community leaves in the boxes will be created for all to see. The mosaics will roll out on March 14, during the LGBTQIA+ Health Awareness Week. They will be displayed in the local schools and libraries. 

There will be an educational event for parents, or anyone in the community for that matter, held virtually on March 14. A link to the event is available on Garfield County Public Library District’s calendar which can be found online at www.gcpld.org 

“I’m hoping that it will be carried forward through the Gay-Straight Alliances and through other organizations and groups that have gotten involved and that this conversation will continue,” Waller stated. 

Getting involved with this project is extremely easy. Stop by one of the local libraries, coffee shops, or community buildings and it’s likely you will come across one of these love notes boxes. Take a few minutes and share words of support and encouragement, and you just may change someone’s life.