ELLIS — A new pice of furniture at Arthur’s Pizza and Mexican Food has gotten some attention.

It’s not just the black-and-white checkered pattern on the couch, but perhaps also the signs asking “What are you winter traditions?” and “How long have you lived in Ellis County?” and inviting people to leave their answers on a sticky note that get people talking.

And that’s exactly the idea, said Stanley Smith-Hanes, a volunteer with the Neighbor Project.

The Neighbor Project stemmed from Strategic Doing, an initiative with the Dane G. Hansen Foundation and Heartland Community Foundation that creates collaborative networks to support preservation and encourage growth.

The Neighbors Project was created to get people talking, Smith-Hanes said.

“Basically our idea is to get people to talk to each other, be neighbors, not just next-door people,” he said.

The couch is a way to help get conversations started.

“A lot of TV shows center around it, so that’s why picked this out. It’s whimsical. People look at it and wonder what it’s for. We’re just trying to get people to sit down and tell us their stories,” Smith-Hanes said.

The Neighbor Project will host an event Saturday in Ellis focusing on winter holiday traditions from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Ellis VFW. People are encouraged to bring holiday foods traditional to their families or cultures and talk about their traditions with others.

The Neighbor Project will also have events at the Hays Arts Council’s Spring Art Walk on April 26 with a focus on the art of conversation and at the Ellis County Fair in July on the topic of harvest and agricultural traditions.

More information about the Neighbors Project can be found at www.facebook.com/NeighborProjec1 or emailing NeighborProjectEllisCo@gmail.com.