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Spreading hope one heart at a time
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DENVER If you live in the Denver area, chances are you’ve seen Koko Bayer’s work around town. Her giant hearts have been popping up all over since April - right after the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

“The work that I was putting up around town at that time didn’t really feel right for this crazy moment in time we were having,” says Bayer, “so I wanted to create a print that would help people feel a little bit better.”

Project Spread Hope was born. Bayer’s original heart-shaped design features her signature colors, a scheme she calls "pink lemonade," and “hope” written boldly across the center. Bayer began wheat pasting the hearts throughout the city, using her Instagram to gain momentum.

Colorado Voices

Denver Mural Project Spreads Hope

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Artist Koko Bayer has pasted over 300 hearts across Denver as part of Project Spread Hope.

“I put out a request for spots and said ‘anyone who has a boarded-over window or any high-visibility spot, let me know and we’ll come put it up,’” says Bayer.

The flood gates opened after the Denver Botanic Gardens requested a piece be put up. Now, there are around 300-400 hope hearts around the Denver area. “Maybe more, I’ve lost count,” says Bayer. More hearts are posted throughout the state, and some have been sent to Kansas and Chicago.

“During the height of the lockdown, I was printing over 1,000 square feet of color printing every week,” says Bayer. At around $40-$100 per heart depending on size, the cost began to add up quickly.

Initially the project was entirely self-funded by Bayer, but she now takes donations for her print fund. Grateful, Bayer says, “It’s really heartening for me, all of the people who’ve reached out to support it and help it along.”

Bayer has recently expanded her design options. One heart features a take on LGBTQ+ and Black Lives Matter colors, while another reads “esperanza,” or "hope" in Spanish.

To learn more about Project Spread Hope visit Koko’s Instagram.

Contact Project Spread Hope at projectspreadhope@gmail.com.

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