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Flag for Hope visits Hopkinton, Copley Square

Boston Police Superintendent in Chief William Gross got assistance from Sandra Pacheco adding his print to the canvas. Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff/Globe Staff

Flag for Hope, a humanitarian art project, came to Boston Thursday on its national tour. The project seeks to gather 5,000 handprints from people nationwide, creating an image of the American flag. The tour comes to New York’s Freedom Tower on Sept. 11.

Artist Marcos Antonio filmed participants as they pressed their hands to the canvas, asking about their backgrounds and what the flag means to them.

“We have to show the world that we can come together without having so much conflict,” Antonio explained as he hustled around the busy canvas. “It’s one world, one United States, and we’d better start thinking of how to make a better place, not only for us, but for the rest of the generations to come.”


The pop-up art project hit home for many, including World War II veteran Bob Lavoie and the Hoyt family, who put their palms to the canvas Thursday morning in Hopkinton. Gathered around the Boston Marathon’s starting line with residents, policemen, and volunteers, Dick Hoyt, who ran the Boston Marathon 32 times pushing his son, Rick, in a wheelchair, hoped Flag for Hope would serve as an example to people everywhere.

“As a country, we need to do something different,” said Hoyt. “We’re all people, and we should be able to live and get along with everybody.”

Artist Marcos Antonio (right) joked with Boston Police Commissioner William Evans (left) after Evans added his print to the canvas. Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

The flag reminds Hoyt of what he and his family have overcome, and the challenges they continue to tackle. “There isn’t anything you can’t do, as long as you make up your mind to do it,” said Hoyt, “and there’s no such word as ‘no.’ ”

Flag for Hope then moved to Copley Square, where they were greeted by Boston Police Department’s District 4 team. Captain Paul M. Ivens, who was at the marathon’s finish line when the bombs went off, remembered the efforts of his team that day and sees Boston’s participation in Flag for Hope as an example of the city’s persistent strength. Each officer left a handprint on the canvas. “I’m proud of my police officers, not only that day but every day,” said Ivens.


The project seeks to gather 5,000 handprints from people nationwide, creating an image of the American flag.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

Mallory Abreu can be reached at mallory.abreu@globe.com