The Love is Primary project: Public art display begins in Westfield

Jon Edwards, left, and Chris Blice at the Love is Primary picnic table. (Photo by Anna Skinner)

Jon Edwards, left, and Chris Blice at the Love is Primary picnic table. (Photo by Anna Skinner)

By Anna Skinner

To unite the public and to spread art and love through the community, Teresa Skelton has partnered with Blice Edwards, LLC. The artists completed the Westfield’s Blossoms mural on the north side of Union Flowers and Gifts, and they are now working on another public display with bright colors.

The Love is Primary project began in Indianapolis, creating picnic tables through Eli Lily’s Day of Service last year to provide to various Indianapolis schools. Co-founders Chris Blice and Jon Edwards came up with a plan to expand the project.

The Westfield Arts Alliance crew, from left, Mic Mead, Teresa Skelton, Sharon Rice, Chris Blice, Kate Hinman, Linda Lutes and Jon Edwards.

The Westfield Arts Alliance crew, from left, Mic Mead, Teresa Skelton, Sharon Rice, Chris Blice, Kate Hinman, Linda Lutes and Jon Edwards.

“I’m all about teaching kids empathy and fundraising early on because they are our future fundraisers,” Blice said. “A picnic table is a place where they share their meals and ideas. As a school, if you are gifted a table, we would ask that you get your kids together and somehow have a fundraiser to raise money to give a table to the school of your choice.”

“One of the basic fundamentals of being human starts with learning and sharing love, and love is the primary core that we build our lives out of,” Edwards added. “It’s basic.”

The picnic tables cost $375. They come in primary colors that spell the word ‘love’ on the face of each table. Schools aren’t the only beneficiaries of the artwork, and the Love is Primary project has made its first step into Hamilton County.

Teresa Skelton, executive director of the Downtown Westfield Association, latched on to the plan as she aims to make Westfield a spot for public art. Westfield is the pilot city for the Love is Primary project. The Westfield Arts Alliance, a branch of the DWA, paid $375 for a table to be placed outside the DWA office at 211 S. Union St. Skelton is working with the WAA to raise money for an additional table to grant to city hall or another public spot.

“I’m very interested in the public arts and downtown, and although people may view it as just a picnic table, I think it’s a great concept like paying it forward or spreading the love,” Skelton said. “I think there’s a whole lot we can do with some of our buildings and some of our lawns. I think art is important. It’s another dimension to add to your community, another conversation piece. Art is proven that it pumps up an economic viability in your community, and I think we have made some good attempts at it, but I think we could do more (in Westfield). Coat-tailing on this spreading the love, I think it would be great if we could just see it throughout Hamilton County. I want to start it here in my community, and it would be great to see it branch out.”

WAA has not yet established a fundraiser to add another Love is Primary picnic table to Westfield. The first table was paid for by the DWA.

“This is a brand new concept,” Blice said. “(Westfield is) the first. It’s a kindness, and the world needs more of it, so we want to help. It could ricochet. Just imagine how many people elsewhere would think it’s a great idea, an inexpensive way to spread the love. We can even engage other people in helping us paint those tables.”

For more, visit bliceedwards.com.

The Westfield Blossoms mural on the north side of Union Street Flowers and Gifts, also completed by Blice Edwards.

The Westfield Blossoms mural on the north side of Union Street Flowers and Gifts, also completed by Blice Edwards.

Blice Edwards in Westfield 

Although Westfield residents may see more and more picnic tables pop up, or even join the movement themselves, Blice Edwards, LLC has touched Westfield in other ways, as well.

The Westfield Blossoms removable artwork on the north side of Union Street Flowers and Gifts also is a product of the pair’s work, as well as a mural on Growing Grins Pediatric Dentistry on Ind. 32.

“The people enjoy it,” Co-founder Chris Blice said about the public murals.