A public art initiative in downtown Zeeland aims to bring the community closer together during the COVID-19 pandemic and the city's economic recovery.
The interactive exhibit, located on the corner of Main Avenue and Elm Street, takes the shape of a wall made up of red and white campaign-style buttons. Half of the buttons promote the message Heal the Zeel and the other half proudly display a red heart with the city’s signature Z! in the center.
Passersby are invited to select one or multiple buttons that reflect their commitment to Heal the Zeel, a campaign to encourage an extra dose of neighborly support as people struggle with the health and financial fallout of the disease.
The Heal the Zeel initiative is temporarily replacing the city's tagline, Feel the Zeel, which was introduced as part of a 2007 branding campaign for the Ottawa County community of about 5,500 residents.
You're invited to wear a button and join us as we HEAL THE ZEEL. ??Posted by Zeeland--Feel the Zeel on Friday, June 19, 2020
The button board exhibit invites residents to wear a button to show their support for the Zeeland community as they work to rebuild.
The campaign encourages people to be generous by supporting local businesses and follow safety precautions to prevent the spread of the virus.
Comfort in participation
Community members and businesses have found comfort in participating in the campaign, through iconic red Z! hearts in the windows of businesses and homes and cars, and Heal the Zeel light pole banners in the city’s downtown.
“Originally, the intent of the new tagline was to support and care for each other while we were in the thick of the stay-at-home order. Now, it’s equally as important to support and care for one another, and our local businesses, as we begin to return to our normal routines,” says city Marketing Director Abby deRoo.
The button board exhibit may look familiar to some. In 2018, the city launched its original button board exhibit, which encouraged people to Think The Zeel.
That effort two years ago challenged residents to express how they make a conscious effort to turn their love for Zeeland into intentional actions, deRoo says.
: 'Heal the Zeel' campaign rallies community support