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Heartbreak’s remains, all under one roof

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Shed no tears for the brokenhearted this Valentine’s Day— more than likely, they’ll be sharing a chuckle with one another over the remnants of relationships gone by.

Starting Feb. 14, Edge Gallery at 611 Main St. will be hosting the second annual Museum of Broken Hearts, a collection of artifacts from failed relationships gathered under one roof by curator Claire Childs.

Childs’ exhibit, which she held for the first time last year, was inspired by the story of a pair of Croatian artists who, after having a falling out, created an exhibit out of the art they had exchanged while together.

But you don’t have to be an artist to have a piece on display in the museum: the exhibit makes art of the little artifacts which remain after a relationship has been torn asunder, be it ticket stubs, old jewelry and even divorce papers.

"Sometimes it’s more about the story behind (the item)," Childs explains.

The exhibit’s website states that all submissions are anonymous.

An artist herself, working in various forms of media, Childs said artists and non-artists alike were welcome to submit to the exhibit (the cut-off was Feb. 8, unless, she notes, an item is really good). She said many people tend to hold on to reminders of old relationships, meaning there’s plenty of relatability in the show.

Sometimes, it can be tough to decide whether or not a piece should be included, given the inherently personal nature of the material, but sometimes art just has to win out.

"(My friend), he’s submitting one. He had a horrible ex, but at the same time it’s like ‘that’s great!’" Childs laughs.

"I think it touches people more, the more awful it is . . . It gives you the opportunity to help other people. It’s this awful story that can help others."

But far from being a maudlin affair, having the artifacts out for the world to see can be an exercise in relief, and an opportunity for some dark humour.

"It’s not sad. Yeah, it’s an awful experience, but at the same time it’s not depressing," Childs said, noting that last year, people could be seen sharing a laugh over their common experiences.

"I don’t know why it’s like that, but it is."

Opening night will run 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Feb. 14. The Museum of Broken Hearts runs Feb. 14-26. Edge Gallery is open 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. The gallery is closed Sunday to Monday.

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