The Love Lettering Project

Photo by Joseph Michael Photography
Photo by Joseph Michael Photography

What do you love about where you live?

The Love Lettering Project is a community engagement project that asks participants to write letters about what they love about where they live. Since 2004, Lindsay Zier-Vogel has been spreading civic love by asking people to create these anonymous love letters to their cities, slip them into The Love Lettering Project’s signature airmail envelopes marked “love.” and distribute them anonymously throughout their communities.

Visit the official Love Lettering Project website here!

Thousands of people have participated in over 100 Love Lettering Project events. This internationally acclaimed collaborative project has the capacity to transform individuals’ relationship to their communities through social engagement.

The Love Lettering Project travelled to New York City with Artery in February 2017 and pop-up events have been touring the U.S. with stops in Chicago, Boston, L.A. and Atlanta. The Love Lettering Project was the basis for the David Suzuki Foundation’s 2016 international 30×30 campaign and launched the Art Gallery of Ontario’s Weston Family Learning Centre in Toronto. Lindsay has also partnered with the Toronto Public Library system, the Toronto District School Board, Tourism Toronto, the Canadian High Commission in London, England, among others.

The Love Lettering Project has been deemed one of the 50 reasons to love Toronto by Toronto Life magazine and has been featured in international media, including The Atlantic’s CityLab, NPR, CBC Television’s The National, Global National News, CTV’s Canada AM, The Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail and CBC Radio’s Definitely Not the Opera and World Report. (More press details here).

Photo by Joseph Michael Photography
Photo by Joseph Michael Photography

In the last thirteen years, thousands of people have participated in over 100 events. Lindsay has taken the project on two hugely successful tours: one to Canada’s north in 2014 (partnering with DreamCatcher Mentoring and crowd-funded in part by the Love Lettering Project community and the Canada Council for the Arts), and another to the UK in 2013, funded by the Canada Council for the Arts. The Love Lettering Project travelled to Riverside, California for the 2016 Smithsonian Museum Day, to Washington D.C. and Virginia, in June 2016, to launch Melody Warnick’s book, This Is Where You Belong and toNew York City with Artery in 2017. Love Lettering Project pop-ups have been touring the U.S. in 2017 with stops in Chicago, Boston, L.A. and Atlanta.

2016:
Lindsay collaborated with the David Suzuki Foundation for their 30×30 Nature Challenge in May, and was an Artist Mentor through the tdsbCREATES program in Toronto. In 2015, the 11th year of the project, Lindsay helped launch Jane’s Walk, took part in 100 in 1 Days, issued in summer at the Junction Summer Solstice Festival and partnered up with the Artist Newsstand at Chester subway station and the David Suzuki Foundation.

2015:
In 2015, the 11th year of the project, Lindsay helped launch Jane’s Walk, took part in 100 in 1 Days, issued in summer at the Junction Summer Solstice Festival and partnered up with the Artist Newsstand at Chester subway station and the David Suzuki Foundation.

2014:

A love letter to Yellowknife
A love letter to Yellowknife

To mark the 10th year of The Love Lettering Project, Lindsay collaborated with DreamCatcher Mentoring for a three-city tour of Canada’s North (Yellowknife, Whitehorse and Fort Smith). Supported in part by the Canada Council for the Arts, Lindsay invited high school students and teachers to write and create love letters to the places they live and anonymously distribute them throughout their communities. As a long-term DCM mentor, she also shared her experiences as a community engagement artist and writer.

Also in 2014, Lindsay partnered with Art in Transit to fill digital screens in the city’s downtown underground pedestrian walkway with city-focused love letters in February. Torontonians created the handmade missives in response to a public call for love letters.

The Love Lettering Project was deemed one of the Top 50 reasons to love Toronto by Toronto Life magazine and has transcended local media with features in CBC Television’s The National, Global National News, CTV’s Canada AM, The Toronto Star, Toronto Life, The Globe and Mail and CBC Radio’s Definitely Not the Opera and World Report. (More press details here).

2013:



In addition to speaking engagements about community art projects, in 2013, Lindsay embarked on a 5-city UK tour, with funding from the Canada Council for the Arts and Indiegogo supporters.  She partnered with various British arts organizations and events in London, Bristol, Brighton, Nottingham and Liverpool and asked folks across the pond to write love letters to their communities. She was also asked to take part in the Canada Day celebration at Trafalgar Square.

2012:

01LZV2012loveletter

In 2012, with funding from The Awesome Foundation, Lindsay went on a 14-event Toronto tour, collaborating with community events and arts organizations such as Harbourfront Centre’s Canada Day festival, Celebrate Yonge Street Festival and Kensington Market’s street festival. Using paper donated from The Paper Place and Coach House Books, over 1,000 love letters were created and distributed throughout Toronto in a single summer.

Also in 2012, Tourism Toronto commissioned Lindsay to create 500 love letters to spread Toronto-love in Las Vegas and London, England.

04LZV2012loveletter

There are three key components to the project:

1). Reflecting on what you love about the city you live in

The shift in perspective from seeing what needs to be fixed to what works in a city is a powerful shift indeed. This social engagement promotes a greater sense of well-being and civic pride.

2). The creation of the love letter as an art object

The project provides an opportunity for members of the community to engage with the written word and paper arts in a judgment-free, accessible forum. Lindsay then takes a photo of each letter created to add to this site, as well as to Twitter and the Love Lettering Project Facebook page.

3). Individuals take their love letter and hide it anonymously for a stranger to find

This final step asks participants to further engage with their physical community, hiding their love letter for a stranger to find with no personal agenda other than the simple pleasure of sharing joy.

Love, write, deliver…

A love letter hidden in Nottingham, UK
A love letter hidden in Nottingham, UK

The history of the project:

I (2004): Whispers of love ~ phone booths, in bins of cherries at fruit markets, in gardens, on park benches, under windshield wipers on parked cars…

II (2006): Library love ~ Irving Layton to Baudelaire, first editions to brand new books, Nabokov in Russian, plays, poetry, fiction and everything in between…

III (2007): ‘Odes on brambles and elegies on hawthorns’ ~ a tree papered in love letters…

IV: (2008): Bike love ~ love poems to magnolia trees, wheat beer, old Penguin edition books, May and so many other lovely bits all tied to strangers’ bikes…

V (2009): First kisses ~ love letters with poems about the locations of first kisses – then delivered to these places…behind ice rinks, movie theatres, basements, behind churches, porches, driveways, school playgrounds…

VI (2010): Love letters on the move…Halifax, Calgary, Washington, D.C., Nebraska, Montreal, Edmonton, Vancouver and Victoria.

VII (2011): Toronto love: The 2011 incarnation of the project was the most ambitious and involved the created and anonymous distribution of 500 love letters. In the spring of 2011, Zier-Vogel asked people to tell her their favourite things about Toronto and wrote love poems to these places – the lake, Romni Wools, the water treatment building in the east end, Mount Pleasant cemetery – and Zier-Vogel decided not to make between 80-100 love letters the way she had in the past, but instead made 500 one-of-a-kind love letters and hid them all over the city.

Please visit the official Love Lettering Project page for more love lettering events.