After a decade of work, the Leesburg Public Arts Commission celebrated the town’s first permanent exhibit Saturday with the ribbon-cutting ceremony of the ArtsPARKs project in Harrison Park.
The collaboration between the town, businesses and area artists converts the streamside park along Harrison Street into an outdoor sculpture gallery.
“It looks completely different than it did six months ago,“ Mayor Dave Butler said of the park, which got a makeover before the five statues were set up. “It is really becoming a jewel for Leesburg.”
Both Butler and Vice Mayor Kelly Burk acknowledged it has been a struggle to get Town Council support for public art displays.
Butler said, “the town council has not been overly enthusiastic” about arts funding, but he thanked the business and the art community for pulling together behind the park project.
“It shows that Leesburg is getting cooler in a lot of respects,” Butler said.
Burk recounted the long, and so far unsuccessful, effort to win Town Council support to create a mural on the town parking garage wall at Mervin Jackson Park, but also noted the work of a cadre of volunteers to push the public art movement forward.
“It’s all because of people who volunteer their time,” Burk said. “People who have the vision to see that art is important and that art improves the quality of our lives.”
The exhibit includes five sculptures selected by a panel of judges. Artists whose works on are display are Brian D. Kirk, Peter Wood, Michael M. Clay. Burgevin & Larkin, REHAU, Knutson, Lawrence and Suzanne Stipek and the Rotary Club of Leesburg sponsored individual statues and Middleburg Bank, Lansdowne Development and Friends of Leesburg Public Art provided donations for the overall project.