The Heart and Soul-themed project of the Williamsport community has been a multifaceted project that has raised citizens’ voices to let their representation of the community be heard through various means.
Phase one, the Heart of Williamsport (HOW) project, coordinated through the Susquehanna Greenway Partnership, was a multiyear process of collecting stories told by the citizens of Williamsport. HOW documented these stories on video and crafted eight Heart and Soul Statements that summarize what Williamsport citizens feel matter most to them and what they value about the community. The statements reflect values about arts, culture, heritage; beautiful natural environment; diverse community; educational assets, activities, and events; community sense of well-being; opportunities and economic growth; small-town feel, and; urban amenities and recreation.
Phase two, coordinated by Factory Works, built on the work of the original project, with the goal of creating a piece of artwork that would reflect the stories of Williamsport and particularly the stories behind the Pajama Factory and the community of studios of Factory Works. Stories were heard and documented, with six themes identified: creativity, community, supportive environment, inclusion, growth, and gratitude. Artist designs were evaluated through a juried process with Dai En selected as the artist. Two mosaics on pillars at the Rose Street and Park Avenue entrance to the Pajama Factory titled Lady of Light, were installed. Dai En, a Pajama Factory artist tenant, worked alongside a group of volunteer participants to install the two mosaics.
Phase three, also coordinated by Factory Works in partnership with Lycoming Arts, Heart of Williamsport, and with assistance from the Williamsport Business Association, is the What Matters Most public art project. Brian Spies, a local artist, was commissioned to craft a design that creatively visualizes the eight HOW Heart and Soul Statements. Posted in stores throughout Williamsport and displayed in the kiosks at the William Street entrance to the Trade and Transit Plaza II, the image portrays the vitality of the city and the heartfelt statements of its residents.
Our organizations sincerely thank the funders of this project for the leadership and support that has been provided throughout this process. All Heart and Soul projects were created on a model supported by the Orton Family Foundation and funded by the Federal-State Partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities under a grant from the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Support for this project was provided by the Pennsylvania Humanities Council, the Federal-State Partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities under a grant from the Pennsylvania Council of the Arts, a state agency funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the National Endowment for the Arts.