It was a brisk morning in February at The Oculus, the imposing white structure that truly looks risen from the ashes of the World Trade Center site. After taking in a silent breath to pay my respects, I entered and immediately identified the energized gathering in the center of the hall below as the event. The rush of New Yorkers couldn’t help but interrupt their harried commutes to take in the beauty of art in action. I was struck by the glow of the light in the voluminous, peaceful space and quickly understood that we were here to do more than hand out pamphlets for Heart Month.
Instead, in collaboration with WomenHeart and Mended Hearts, our partners at Bayer launched a campaign of a very different sort, to help people understand the hidden risk factors for a heart attack and what they can do to help prevent another cardiovascular event. The hook was getting to see an incredible artist at work, not rendering a painting of her subjects but instead painting on her subjects. Bayer commissioned artist Alexa Meade to paint three different heart attack survivors “hidden” into their own customized murals to symbolize those hidden risks and bring to life each personal story of survival. WomenHeart Champions Yesenia Araujo and Agnes Czuchlewski were among the survivors to be painted and share their stories.
Passersby were encouraged to interact with the artist, the models and the sets, including taking selfies on set and learning more about cardiovascular disease. The event wove together art, heart health and patient stories. It was genius and uplifting.
There is still time for you to interact with the campaign, by visiting YourHiddenRisk.com. There, you can learn more about your hidden risk factors and launch an augmented reality experience that creates a selfie on your smartphone for sharing o Facebook or Instagram. For every selfie shared with #YourHiddenRisk, Bayer will donate $1.00 to Mended Hearts or WomenHeart up to $50,000 through April 4th.
And, the next time you find yourself in New York City, do yourself a favor and visit The Oculus for yourself. Maybe you’ll be inspired too.