Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Shop students give some L-O-V-E to ARP

by Bob Batz

Fox Chapel High School students recently showed some love to Aspinwall Riverfront Park to kick off a series of public art projects there this spring.

They fabricated and painted big wooden letters to make an “L-O-V-E” sign and decorated that with two wood hearts that begged for people to use them as a selfie backdrop around Valentine’s Day.

Supported by The Dave and Beth Short, the art series started with this lovely installation of 7½-foot-tall letters, computer designed and cut out on a computercontrolled router by Joe Gass’ tech ed students Cullen Sunday, Jacob Zacharias, Raphe Pirzada, Jacob Patterson and Sophia Gass. Then juniors Emily Hook and Elizabeth Crookston and sophomore Eleanor Fox painted the letters. Emily said, “I hope seeing the sign will help brighten other people’s day.”

More art appreciation is on the way. The park’s founder and executive director, Susan Crookston, plans to supplement the LOVE sign with “Waves of Gratitude,” a collection of

thousands of hanging colored ribbons, each with a handwritten note of what someone is grateful for.

The park invites people of all ages, races and backgrounds to submit something for which they are grateful, and each will go on a ribbon with that person’s initials.

You have through Wednesday to be part of it by emailing what you are grateful for along with your name gratitude@aspinwallriverfrontpark.org or visiting Aspinwallriverfrontpark.org/gratitude

That exhibit is to open there (285 River Ave., Aspinwall, PA 15215) on March 20, which is Fred Rogers’ birthday and the one-year anniversary of pandemic shutdowns, and remain up, along with the LOVE sign, through April. Park board member Carole King says the late TV star’s “look for the good” values align with those of the park and are especially important this challenging year. “We could all use some happiness and color right now.”

Ms. Crookston said, “We’d like to have at least 1,800 submissions of gratitude to represent roughly the number of lives lost in Allegheny County this year due to COVID.” She already is delighted by some of the submissions. “One woman just wrote, ‘I’m grateful that my husband has started helping with the cooking since COVID happened,’ ” she shared. Another family is grateful for “painting with mud.”

That makes her think this display is going to be even more fun than she expected, especially when the wind blows all these ribbons into a rippling field of colors. “It’s going to be spectacular.”