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The initial version of Hyong Yi's 100 Love Notes launched on the streets of Charlotte, North Carolina on November 21, 2015. To honor his wife, Catherine Zanga, on the one-year anniversary of her death from ovarian cancer, Hyong and his two young children gave strangers 100 handwritten love notes, notes that chronicled Hyong and Catherine’s life together, from their first meeting, to dating, marriage, children, and her death, which came far too soon.
NBC and ABC Nightly News, Good Morning America, and the The Today Show covered the story. So did Buzzfeed, Upworthy, Someecards, Collective Evolution, Yahoo News, Blessings.com, and many other online news sources. Media around the world—the Toronto Star, Sky News (U.K.), Yahoo Canada, Huffington Post UK, Global News Canada, KSN.com, News India, Korean Evening News, UTBC (South Korea), Suff.co.nz, Dailylife (Australia)—picked up the story as well.
Surprised by the magnitude of interest, Yi realized that the notes had greater purpose, and he commissioned 17 artists to illustrate his three-line poems. The resulting art runs the gamut from watercolor, to pen and ink, mosaic, and collage; from traditional paintings to digital compositions