The Heartbeats Project is a response to recent scientific news that all mammals, great and small, share the same average number of heartbeats over a lifetime, an astounding 1.5 billion plus. In an attempt to come to grips with this number, Boston sculptor Marilu Swett has decided to make that number physical, by collecting stand-ins for each heartbeat on 3 x 3 inch pieces of paper that she asks people to draw on.

Swett has been invited by the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, to do the Heartbeats Project with the public on October 10, 2015.

She is creating a heart-inspired structure to display many of the beats, and people can draw and add their own. Through PEM she has visited 7th and 8th graders in a Salem School and from Tokyo, Japan, to share the project. In conjunction with London's The Big Draw!

People have drawn their idea of a heartbeat for her around the world: in schools in Pittsburgh, PA and in Ghana, West Africa; in hotels in Colorado and Amsterdam; in book and counseling groups in Massachusetts; at conferences and at libraries; in a restaurant in London, and at Seder in Brookline and Christmas Dinner in Dennis. Students at Montserrat College of Art have recently done a heartbeat performance to generate the average number of heartbeats that can be drawn in one hour (175). Families at a Public Library making valentines at a workshop also made heartbeats.

So far, Swett has thousands of heartbeats in hand, but needs many more. You can help! Please visit for more information and how to participate.