Central Park interactive art installation promotes climate awareness

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Danish artist Jeppe Hein (L) watches a woman paint lines on his installation entitled "Breathe with Me" in Central Park

A public art installation in New York's Central Park is inviting thousands to contribute a blue brush stroke to a massive canvas, art symbolic of the breaths shared by humanity that aims to heighten environmental awareness.

The Danish artist Jeppe Hein installed the canvas measuring nearly 600 feet (180 meters) long by 10 feet high, and painted its first four lines that are intended to visualize an inhale and exhale.

The installation entitled "Breathe With Me," timed with the recent United Nations Climate Summit, is now open for the public to leave its mark.

It will remain open until Friday and can accommodate between 3,000 and 3,500 contributions, according to the artist's team.

The Metropolitan Art Museum has already solicited 600 children from New York schools to make additions.

Organized along with the group ART-2030, Hein's work is the most ambitious art installation in Manhattan's famed park since artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude erected 75,000 colored gates over 23 miles (37 kilometers) of walkways within the park borders.

Hein told AFP he has several projects akin to "Breathe With Me" underway in other countries. He carried out a similar, smaller-scale project at the UN headquarters in New York a few days ago.

The Berlin-based artist plans for his concept to travel and said he is working on an installation in Greenland.

The goal, Hein said, is to "make an art piece together to find out that we are all breathing the same air."

"We need to know that we are all connected."

Hein said after Friday some pieces of the painting will be donated to New York schools.