Globally, we are currently witnessing the highest levels of displaced people on record. According to the latest figures from the United Nations Refugee Agency, there are an estimated 26 million refugees worldwide, over half of whom are under age 18. It is with them in mind that postcards with heART was developed. A collaboration between the National Postal Museum, the Jesuit Refugee Service/USA (JRS/USA), and two DC-area artists, postcards with heART allows museum visitors to explore current issues relating to global refugee, stateless, and displaced populations. We invite you to think about and reflect upon the scope of the current refugee crisis and the experiences of displaced people around the world. From there, you are encouraged to download custom-designed postcards featuring original art from MISS CHELOVE and Michelle Chen before writing or drawing messages on the back. Through the Jesuit Refugee Service/USA’s Any Refugee program, these messages of kindness will be mailed and delivered to a child in one of the many refugee populations that the JRS/USA serves around the globe.
Four powerful postcards were created by internationally recognized artists, Michelle Chen and MISS CHELOVE, both of whom adapted work from their portfolio or created original pieces specifically for the postcards with heART project. Individually, each work depicts a portion of the greater refugee experience—the meaning of home and how that can change, the individual cultural identities people claim and how they blend and connect with those of others around them, and the resulting rich and complex communities that are established as a result. Collectively, they illustrate our shared human experience irrespective of resident status.
The National Postal Museum is intimately aware of the value in connecting strangers through the medium of mail which can provide a sense of community or simply brighten the recipient's day. Through postcards with heART, we hope to do just that while also shedding light on the complex and challenging topic of the global refugee crisis. We encourage visitors to deeply explore the resources available on this site about specific locations and groups impacted. Hopefully the background content provided can inspire thoughtfulness and empathy about refugee experiences, which can then be translated into a message on a postcard.
postcards with heART events and programs are scheduled throughout the year. Please see our event calendar for the most up to date information.