Dr Cerel-Suhl teaching at Maxwell Elementary, 2016.  Lexington Herald-Leader, Tom Eblen

Dr Cerel-Suhl teaching at Maxwell Elementary, 2016. Lexington Herald-Leader, Tom Eblen

Through an integrated story lesson, KidsArt4Hearts teaches children the three-part health lesson, "Let's move! Eat right, Don't smoke." Each of the ten folds of the origami heart includes an evidence-based health behavior and science message.

Learning and practicing origami integrates language, math and fine motor skills with planning and patience. 

Culminating in public art installations, Kids Art4Hearts also seeks to creatively raise public awareness of healthy lifestyle choices.

Participating children are also excited "to help teach grownups why and how to take care of their own hearts and bodies" by contributing some individual folded work to a large construction for public display. 

History of the project

Dr. Sylvia Cerel-Suhl sought a way to reach children and adults in a creative way to encourage healthy behaviors. Origami artists Martin and Erik Demaine have artistically and personally influenced her and supported her when she thought of using an origami heart to interest participants with a health "storigami."  Environmental artist and art teacher Anne Allen collaborated to make the lesson fit into curricular guidelines for health, art, science and math in the primary grades. Painter, trained as architect, Andre Pater,  shared structural and color expertise and a sketch. The project was first piloted on a small Sunday School class then Anne Allen's Sayre Middle School Assembly in January 2014.



Thank you so much to the following:


  • Anne Allen, art teacher and artist, Sayre School & artist, Lexington, KY
  • Martin Demaine, artist in residence, MIT, Cambridge, MA
  • Cezar Hidalgo, Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences, Director of the Macro Connections Lab, MIT, Cambridge, MA
  • Kaitlin Graff, Program Coordinator, Lexington, KY
  • Andre Pater, artist, Lexington, KY
  • Sallye Staley, art teacher, The Lexington School, and artist, Lexington,KY


  • Bill Nichols, President, Bluegrass Integrated, paper
  • Jerry Stout, Owner, Stout Printing, paper
  • “Eat Your Colors” fruit and vegetable snacks donated by Fresh Market Lansdowne and the COOP for several events

Photo Credits: Tom Eblen, Lexington Herald Leader, Anne Graff, Sylvia Cerel- Suhl.

Website Design: Sylvia Cerel-Suhl, Kaitlin Graff.

Volunteers have included:

Tammy Alfaro, Rachel Campbell, Todd Copeland, Cindy Eastin, Jennifer Ebert, Ben Franzini, Allison Gerlach, Anne Graff, Kaitlin Graff, Rachel Hoffman, Seneca Holden, Krystal Gill-Jones, Nick Helton, Dr. Mark Kleinman, Matai Kleinman, M. Grey Kleinman, Gopina Kotla, Solomon Kotla, Erin Lucas, Yasuka Miura, Morgan Moses, Sarah Newman, Daniel Oxnard , Mandy Roberts, Ally Rogers, Max Rust, Traci Rust, Tom Parlanti, Reverend T.H.Peoples Jr., Stephanie Sarantonio, Blythe Savage, Dakota Smith, Dr. Jeremiah Suhl, Sara Suhl, Mike Turner, Jessie Turner, Chunhua Zhao and the dozens of teachers and many hundreds of children in diverse schools already taught.


Dr Cerel-Suhl is a member of Origami USA.




KidsArt4Hearts- a program of special events, 21st Century classroom STEAM* curriculum, and art to inspire change. This video illustrates a student of teacher Anne Allen at Sayre School  making a heart with a story lesson to learn "Let's Move! Eat Right, Don't Smoke." visit us at KidsArt4Hearts.com * Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics.


Since 2014, KidsArt4Hearts has served 25+ schools, congregations, and community events in the Central Kentucky Area. In June, the curriculum was also taught at the international Origami USA 2016 conference, in New York. Schools include: Ashland Elementary, East Bernstadt Elementary (Laurel County), The Family Care Center Young Mother’s Class, Liberty Elementary, Maxwell Elementary, Sayre School, and The Lexington School. Public events include CRAVE Festival, the Headley- Whitney Museum, The Lexington Legends, Gallery Hop at the Kentucky Theater; community children's events have been held at Historic Pleasant Green Church, the Lyric Theater, the Lexington Philharmonic PBJ Concert, the Plantory, Temple Adath Israel, and at The University of Kentucky Art Museum.

See Press & Media section for more information. Dozens of volunteers have also assisted over these years (see names at the end.) 

Maxwell Elementary 2nd Grade Student; photo credit: Lexington Herald-Leader Tom Eblen

Maxwell Elementary 2nd Grade Student; photo credit: Lexington Herald-Leader Tom Eblen



Kaitlin Graff off to work at the Million Hearts Campaign at the Centers for Disease Control, late June, 2016....

Kaitlin Graff off to work at the Million Hearts Campaign at the Centers for Disease Control, late June, 2016....