DOWNTOWN — With Valentine’s Day around the corner, Petra Eiko and Darrylynn Kaun are asking people to answer the question, “What is in Your Heart?”

Through an interactive art project created by Eiko and showcased at Kaun’s Zero Minus Plus gift boutique in Fred Segal, the women focus on issues they hold dear to their own hearts, while encouraging others to do the same.

The artwork consists of visitor’s inner-most thoughts, hand-written on pieces of paper and adhered to the wall around a large, green heart designed by Eiko. Instructions along the wall suggest viewers stop and take a minute for reflection before writing openly what is in their hearts. Paper, markers and a desk are provided for visitors wishing to add their heartfelt thoughts to the wall alongside those of others.

Eiko, an artist and author of the inspirational book series, “Seeds of Truth,” created the green heart as a platform for uniting people in fall 2009.

“The idea is to unite people under one question — what is in your heart?” Eiko said. “In our fundamental heart, we are all the same.”

Kaun, whose friendship with Eiko spans close to 10 years, welcomed “What is in Your Heart?” as the third display in Zero Minus Plus’s Good Works Space. The past two displays featured non-profit organizations. Kaun created the Good Works Space — located in the boutique’s store front — to support good causes and community interaction. Kaun lamented the loss of small retail shopkeepers, and emphasized the need of those who remain to stay active in their communities.

“My vision has always been to make it as community focused as possible,” Kaun said. “It’s not at them, it’s with them.”

The display allows viewers to feel connected to others by sharing their responses, while connecting Zero Minus Plus to the community, Kaun said.

“What is in Your Heart?” has attracted a variety of participants, from employees who examine the messages through the window, to tourists from Australia and Tokyo who stop in the boutique, Kaun added. Those who are unable to make it to the boutique can submit their thoughts on the green heart Web site,

In addition to the different writers, the messages have ranged from lighthearted to serious. One paper included a hopeful message for a Colt’s victory in the Superbowl. Another, written by a father upon his daughter’s completion of a rehabilitation program, simply read “Forgiveness.”

Eiko said it is the story behind each paper that allows people to open up and feel connected to each other, which she said is especially important now.

“What we’re going through with the recession, with everything, we kind of get separated more and more and we need something to draw us together,” Eiko said. “You are just not alone in your little four walls.”

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