Burning Man ‘Love’ sculpture debuts at Renown amid COVID-19 outbreak

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“Love” truly does endure all: Burning Man, wine country wildfires and now the coronavirus pandemic. 

Renown Regional Medical Center is borrowing one of the “Love” sculptures made by Reno artist Jeff Schomberg and artist Laura Kimpton of Venice, Calif. 

“Love is pretty self-explanatory. In times of crisis and uncertainty, people turn to love to find comfort,” said Schomberg. 

While there are multiple “Love” sculptures that exist, the sculptures have become a true symbol of endurance. The first-ever “Love” sculpture debuted at Burning Man in 2011 and the same sculpture was at a winery that burned down in the 2017 Northern California wildfires.

One of the few items to survive the fires, a photo of the sculpture in the charred landscape went viral. 

The latest “Love” sculpture will be at Renown between April 16 and July 16. It was built last year, originally intended for installation at the One World Trade Center. The One World Trade Center is the building that replaced the World Trade Center Twin Towers destroyed during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. 

The “Love” sculpture was supposed to go on the 70th floor patio of the building, but the project fell through, at least temporarily. 

California fires:  Love sculpture from Burning Man becomes symbol of hope

From the same series that produced the “Believe” sculpture in Reno’s City Plaza and the “Home” sign now at Greater Nevada Field where the Reno Aces play, the “Love” sculpture will be in good company in Reno and greatly appreciated by those offering and using services at Renown. 

“Many people in our community are devastated by the cancellation of Burning Man, and a little love may help to brighten their spirits,” said hospital spokeswoman Cassie Harris. “Plus, the concept of love is at the heart of everything our healthcare heroes are doing to keep our community safe during the COVID crisis.”

Funded by donors and the Renown Health Foundation, Harris did not disclose the cost of the temporary installation.  

The sculpture’s installation was in partnership with Artown, the citywide arts festival in July. Artown is hosting a “Love” car parade from 7 to 8 p.m. Friday, in which the public is welcome to honk, wave and cheer for first responders. No stopping will be allowed as the parade goes down Mill Street. 

“Love has a remarkable ability to heal the human spirit, just the word alone,” said Oliver X, spokesman for Artown. 

Oliver X said the forecast of Artown is still uncertain and it will likely become clearer in early June whether the monthlong festival will take place this year. 

Jenny Kane covers arts and culture in Northern Nevada, as well as the dynamic relationship between the state and the growing Burning Man community. She also covers the state’s burgeoning cannabis industry (Check out her podcast, the Potcast, on iTunes.) Support her work in Reno by subscribing to RGJ.com right here

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