Williamsport created eight "Heart and Soul Statements" to represent the collective wisdom of all Williamsport citizens. Heart of Williamsport volunteers gathered this wisdom by listening to individual stories.
The project was created by Factory Works, in collaboration with the Heart of Williamsport and Lycoming Arts, along with support from the Williamsport Business Association. The list of Heart and Soul Statements was compiled as part of the Community Heart & Soul Process, funded by The Pennsylvania Humanities Council.
Volunteers composed these statements from what they learned from the residents, summarizing what the Williamsport community identified as What Matters Most. In April 2019, these statements were adopted as guiding principles by The Williamsport City Council.
The statements address the following topics: small town feel; urban amenities; diverse community; beautiful, natural environment; arts, culture & heritage; educational assets; health, safety & welfare; opportunities and economic growth.
Brian Spies, a local artist, was commissioned to craft a design that creatively visualizes the eight HOW Heart and Soul Statements. Posted throughout Williamsport, the image portrays the vitality of the city and the heartfelt statements of its residents: community, diversity, nature, heritage, arts and opportunity. The poster is on display in the first floor of the Welch Children’s Wing in the atrium by the elevator.
The James V. Brown library sees these community statements as part of a larger effort in the state. The PA Forward statewide initiative believes that when Pennsylvania residents improve their command of five types of literacy – basic, information, civic and social, health and financial – they can achieve greater success as students, parents, employees, consumers, and citizens.