The Story Behind This Sign in Downtown Cedar Rapids
Three words are now displayed in downtown Cedar Rapids along one of the city's busiest roads. Three words that say an awful lot.
"you are beautiful" is what the sign says on the First Avenue side of the DoubleTree by Hilton hotel in Cedar Rapids. It hangs near the crosswalk on the railroad track side of the 1st Avenue and 3rd Street intersection, across from Theatre Cedar Rapids. While the message is simple enough, when I saw it I immediately wondered how it got there and why.
According to the Gazette, the Cedar Rapids sign is the only one in the state of Iowa. There is one in every one of the 50 states in the U.S. Chicago Artist Matthew Hoffman originated what's called the "You Are Beautiful" project nearly two decades ago.
A member of the Cedar Rapids' Murals and More board, Laura Kaiden, lived in Chicago before moving to Cedar Rapids almost 10 years ago. When she was in the Windy City, she saw "you are beautiful" stickers everywhere.
She contacted the artist about getting a sign donated for Cedar Rapids so it could be part of the “You Are Beautiful, Where You Are” art installation. Obviously, it worked out.
Kaiden shared her thoughts on the message of 'you are beautiful' with the Gazette:
It's a reminder that all of the actions that you put out in the world, and even the small gestures that you think might not make a difference, that they can really blossom and turn into something really big and beautiful.
Nick Ludwig who's the board co-chair for Murals and More says the sign's message,
Does a lot to try to brighten somebody's day and help somebody find peace, and the sort of solace that comes with letting them know that who they are is enough. They are good enough, just the way they are. They are beautiful.
Yes, you are beautiful. Sometimes we all just need a little reminder.