When Mona Gazala, owner of artist incubator Second Sight Studio in Franklinton, heard about the One Billion Rising campaign to end violence against women, she was compelled to get involved. Second Sight Studio hosted its first "Hearts United" public art project last year in conjunction with One Billion Rising's "V-Day" event, a global observance - spanning over 200 countries in 2014 - calling attention to the fact that more than 1-billion women will be subjected to violence in their lifetime.

When Mona Gazala, owner of artist incubator Second Sight Studio in Franklinton, heard about the One Billion Rising campaign to end violence against women, she was compelled to get involved. Second Sight Studio hosted its first “Hearts United” public art project last year in conjunction with One Billion Rising’s “V-Day” event, a global observance — spanning over 200 countries in 2014 — calling attention to the fact that more than 1-billion women will be subjected to violence in their lifetime.

“One Billion Rising’s ‘V-Day’ event was brought about as a way to show solidarity for that issue. I really wanted to get involved and thought Second Sight Studio was a good vehicle to have an open heart event … where anybody who wanted to come in — young, old, male, female — could be a part of it,” Gazala said.

“Hearts United” is the local component of a global movement personified by public gatherings of millions worldwide in support of this urgent issue. Gazala felt the best approach for a Columbus event — given her immersion in Columbus’ burgeoning arts community in Franklinton — was to ask participants to create heart-shaped or heart-themed art.

Last year’s “Hearts United” was a resounding success, as more than 100 artists presented work. The multitude of heart art — from local artists, artist collectives working collaboratively, children and educational programs, and those just supporting the cause — was displayed on the exterior of Second Site Studio and in the field and on the fences of the closed school in Bellows End across the street.

For this year’s “Heart United,” Gazala has worked to expand the event, in part by partnering with House Tremont in Cleveland, where she lives and works full-time while regularly traveling back to Columbus to manage Second Sight Studio.

It’s expected that the Columbus “Hearts United” event will have more participation, but it’s hard to predict because of its nature — everyone can, and should, be involved in ending violence against women.

“It’s completely and totally open participation. If you heard about it a couple hours prior and wanted to put something together, you absolutely can. We’d love to see you there,” Gazala said.