“Heart bombs are basically love letters to historic places,” says Nicole Babie, Membership and Programs Coordinator of the Saratoga Springs Preservation Foundation (SSPF). Babie teamed up with SSPF Executive Director Samantha Bossheart to spearhead this year’s Heart Bomb Campaign, which celebrates Valentine’s Day by showering Saratoga’s oldest and most historic buildings with “tangible expressions of affection and devotion.” These come in the form of big, bright, elementary-school-throwback Valentines made with colorful construction paper, either affixed directly to the beloved building or held proudly in front of it for photos to be shared on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
“The Heart Bomb campaign seeks to raise awareness about these important places and the impact of preservation in Saratoga Springs,” Babie says. Her heart bombs are carried out by members and supporters of the SSPF, including Board and Committee Members Tatiana Roupas, Alicia Czerwinski, Kyle Klopstock, Dr. Adam Favro and Kira Karbocus. That said, everyone is welcome to participate, regardless of their reasons: “Maybe you dig a particular building or your town or your community’s greater history. Maybe you love bringing people together around a good cause. Or maybe you just love glitter.”
“The great thing about heart bombing is that anyone can do it!” says Babie. “Our youngest participant was 4.5 year old, Holden Skidmore who heart bombed his favorite building, the carousel in Congress Park.” The SSPF also heart bombed the Spirit of Life and the Canfield Casino in Congress Park; the Saratoga Spa State Park; the former Regent Street Theater; and Brackett Cottage, among others. Many of the heart-bombed buildings, including the Batcheller Mansion and 15 Church Street, are structures that were once vacant and severely deteriorated but, having bounced back, currently house thriving businesses. This potential for a building’s rebirth is exactly what the Heart Bomb Campaign is about: showing Saratogians that with a little love, the city’s dilapidated but historic structures can offer the Spa City cultural and economic value. But it takes local support to build a better city. “Preservation doesn’t just happen,” says Babie. “It takes time, concerted efforts and money.”
Looking for inspiration for your own heart bombing campaign? Share or peruse art projects made in the name of Saratoga with the hashtag #IHeartSavingPlaces. You can also show your support by dropping by local eatery Ravenous on Valentine’s Day. They’ll be donating 10 percent of their proceeds to the SSPF.