"Heartbeat," designed by Leigh Wright, rose high above downtown Edmonton.
By Katrina Turchin | April 21, 2021
The skyline is dotted with offices and skyscrapers, but for one night only, onlookers were greeted by an addition to the sky.
A glowing, pulsating, neon heart designed by Leigh Wright, founder of Vignettes, hung above downtown thanks to the help of Westrich Pacific and Pagnotta. Vignettes, a full-scale art and design agency, creates large scale pieces such as Heartbeat for organizations and events. Heartbeat, designed by Wright in collaboration with the Vignettes team, was created with a single purpose in mind.
“We wanted to spread joy and happiness, and the heart is one of those symbols that represents those meanings across all cultures,” says Wright.
Heartbeat debuted at Zoominescence last winter and was created for the festival of light while still being owned by Vignettes. Wright and the Vignettes team saw it as an opportunity to create an installation that could be used at festivals all over the city, not just Zoominescence.
Hung above two tiger cages, the piece was memorable. Anyone who walked under the heart was illuminated by glowing light thanks to motion sensors. Since then, Wright knew that he wanted to continue using the heart to surprise people.
Vignettes organized a guerrilla-style display of Heartbeat in the middle of April for three hours. There was no announcement about when it would be hung above the skyline – it was kept as a secret for only those who stumbled upon it.
“I really believe in pumping up the community and that’s kind of been something I’ve been involved in for the last 10 years of my life – really trying to drive Edmonton and do really cool art projects,” says Wright.
While the downtown display of Heartbeat was a one-night-only event, don’t be surprised if you see the glowing symbol of love popping up around the city in the future. Heartbeat was previously displayed in March during the Flying Canoë Volant Festival and Downtown Spark’s Taste of Al Fresco event.
Wright hopes that the piece will continue to be used by nonprofits and organizations, as the intention for the art came from the heart.
“We wanted to pop around downtown events, charities and make it super accessible for anyone if they want to showcase it,” says Wright. “It means so much to me that we can uplift and bring some positivity to the world.”