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Strasburg to get some ‘LOVE’

The Shenandoah Valley-Herald

STRASBURG – Town leaders are asking residents where a Virginia LOVEwork sculpture should be placed in town.

The town placed a survey on its website and in residents’ February water bills asking whether the sculpture should be placed at the outdoor pavilion being constructed east of Town Hall or at the Gateway to Shenandoah Visitor Center at the Hupp’s Hill Civil War Park. Responses are due by March 17.

The Virginia Tourism Corporation operates the LOVEwork program as a way to promote family-friendly tourism across the state. Sixty-seven cities and towns in Virginia have permanent LOVEwork sculptures, according to virginia.org.

The VTC also establishes temporary LOVEwork signs across the state on a rotating basis.

Michelle Bixler, Strasburg’s economic development and marketing manager, said the town applied to the VTC for a sculpture in the fall and received a $1,500 grant toward construction in November.

The town is budgeting less than $1,000 from the general fund to cover the remaining costs, Bixler said.

The sculpture’s construction timeline depends on its final resting place. If the visitor center is chosen, assembly can begin right away, Bixler said, but residents may have to wait a while to see the finished product if the pavilion wins.

“That’s part of our [Community Development Block] grant,” she said, referring to the town’s $700,000 downtown revitalization project. “It’s scheduled to be finished by April 2018.”

The 16-foot-by-7-foot concrete sculpture will be shipped in pieces and assembled by members of the Staufferstadt Artist Residency, a nonprofit formed in 2015 to bring public art to Strasburg.

Once assembled, the town will add a personal touch to the piece.

“It will include a mosaic on its surface in reference to Pot Town,” Bixler said, referring to a nickname the town earned as a center for pottery production in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

Daniel Lefkowitz, one of the nonprofit’s directors, said the residency is seeking pottery shards and similar items from town residents to make the mosaic.

“It’s a great way to insert ourselves into the work,” he said.

Lefkowitz, 30, added that public art projects like the LOVEwork provide “the perfect way to push the arts in town,” as well as fun for children.

“I used to love climbing on statues in town squares, and there’s not anything in Strasburg for kids to climb on,” he said.



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