Photos by Stephenie Young/1000 Words Photography

PULLMAN, Wash. – Fear not fainthearted.

The giant blue “Technicolor Heart” sculpture, which was at home on the Washington State University Pullman campus until last fall, will return by Aug. 19 at the latest.

When last seen on Oct. 26, it was leaving its spot on the lawn next to Stadium Way on a flatbed truck for a temporary stay at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Mich. It has been part of a retrospective exhibition of iconic sculpture created over the past 50 years by pop art pioneer Jim Dine.

The heart traveled the approximately 2,600 miles via the Walla Walla (Wash.) Foundry where it was first cast. There, it was affixed to a specially designed pallet for its cross-country trip. When the heart returns to campus, it will be via Walla Walla again.

Part of WSU’s permanent art collection, the heart is owned by the Washington State Arts Commission, which purchased it in 2004 through the state funded Art in Public Places program. The commission approved loaning the sculpture.

The heart has been well accepted in Grand Rapids.

It is “extremely popular and an important and well loved part of the exhibition,” said Joseph Becherer, Meijer Gardens’ chief curator and vice president of sculpture.
“The Technicolor Heart … is sited on a terrace outside in the garden and has become a magnet for people in general, and some brides in particular,” he said.

Abbigail DeWeese of Pierson, Mich., and Jonathan Higgins of Middleville, Mich., were married in the Garden View Room at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park on January 15th, the day after a snow storm. After the wedding, while photos were being taken in front of the Technicolor Heart, the groom dropped his ring in the snow.

The bride’s mother, Lisa DeWeese, said the wedding was held while Jonathan was on two weeks’ leave from the U.S. Air Force. For Jonathan’s ring, she gave her daughter the wedding band of Abbigail’s late father, Steven DeWeese.

“Because of the small window of time (Jonathan) was home before the wedding, they did not have time to get the ring sized,” she said.

Meijer Gardens’ staff provided
 shovels, rakes and hot water to try to assist the wedding party searching for the lost ring in the snow. But it could not be found.

In the following weeks, Meijer Gardens’ staff and volunteers kept looking for the ring. Lisa received periodic “snow melt updates” from her Event Coordinator, and she and others went back to the heart to look for the ring.

In March, about two months after the wedding, Lisa received a call that the Meijer Gardens’ Volunteer Manager found the ring, which a relieved Abbigail picked up soon after.

Lisa said she appreciated the effort the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park made to recover the ring.

“They really went above and beyond to make this a happy ending” for her daughter and new son-in-law.

Photos by Stephenie Young/1000 Words Photography.

This story compiled by Tim Marsh, WSU Today, with the assistance of Abby and Lisa DeWeese, Jonathan Higgins, Annemarie Smartz, Carrie Westra, Joseph Becherer and Debby Stinson.