What is in the heart of a child?

Is it different in a favela in Rio or in an orphanage in Beijing? The tropics of Hawaii or a tent-city in Haiti?

Hearts of the World allows children, many from devastated areas, to explore their inner worlds, their passion, their fears and their unique potential.

Since 2010, Hearts of the World has fostered self-expression through painting workshops in ten countries. Started at the Lower East Side Girls Club, by its founder, NYC-based artist Nicolina, the HOTW team has partnered with schools, social service agencies and arts organizations to create life-altering workshops.

The aim of these workshops is to exercise the healing powers of creativity that transcend international borders giving young people tools to navigate the difficult world in which they live.

We give each child an outline of an anatomical heart and invite them to paint it in with whatever they feel is inside their own, the things they love, their aspirations, their innermost feelings. The success of these workshops has inspired us to expand our mission’s potential.

Nicolina Johnson
Founder, Creative Director

Nicolina Tyler maintains a home base in New York City’s East Village. She specializes in guerrilla street art, murals, collaborative painting projects and interactive performance-art spectacles. Hearts of the World, her ongoing international art project, brings art to underprivileged children who might not otherwise have the opportunity to express themselves creatively. She is also the founder of the Free Art Society. The Free Art Society’s mission is to propose that making art is a common human impulse and essential to building communities based on the principles of freedom, beauty and understanding.

Dan Bratman
Operations Manager

Dan Bratman is the Operations Manager for Hearts of the World, as well as a writer, filmmaker and publicist. He currently appears on the masthead of numerous magazines from Qatar to Mexico and has fiction and poetry published around the world. He has graffitied in Rio de Janeiro, bought paint at gunpoint in Haiti, trained Olympic level horses in Canada, was hired as a cowboy in Wyoming and interviewed transgender HIV survivors in New York City. Recently, Dan has parlayed his wide experiences into operation management and making documentaries for Hearts of the World. He currently lives, writes and rides in Brooklyn, NY.

Jonah Levy
Project Director

Jonah Levy was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He developed a passion for a wide range of arts early on. He majored in film studies at Hobart College where he earned his bachelors degree. Upon return to New York he fell deeply in love with the underground art scene while working as a NYC tour guide. In the fall of 2012, Jonah began to transition into the field of arts administration with an internship at the Clocktower Gallery. He now works at the Center for the Holographic Arts and manages Paint the Town, a mural and painting business.


Rachel A Precious

Rachel Precious currently lives in Westport, CT, and has been running fundraising campaigns and working in non-profit for many years. An avid traveler with a background in wildlife conservation, Rachel has a passion for all things wild, weird, and wonderful, and is committed to causes that promote peace, equality, and the preservation of our beautiful planet.

Edgar Zorrilla
Media & Design

A multidisciplinary creative consultant with a diverse background of client projects through high level agencies the likes of Nike, Jordan, Sprite, OkCupid, Tinder, Delta, Duracell, Ford, Jaguar, McDonalds, Sony Music’s RED Distribution, Charles Schwab, Uptown Magazine, State Farm, Mercedes, Razorfish, Publicis, Nice Shoes and Viacom.

For the last 10 years, Edgar has worked as a creative in advertising on projects ranging in size from boutique to global. He’s also participated in media companies wearing multiple hats, doing everything from digital to traditional production. “I’ve been fortunate to work with a wealth of talented people, learning from each of them. On the way, I’ve built a portfolio that shows the breadth and depth of what I can contribute to the discussion of brand visuals and communication. My true passion lies in art and design collaborations for building, maintaining and marketing brands.”​​​​​​