LOVE Park mysteries: Who paid for the sculpture and what’s the new plaza name?

The city will announce the formal ribbon cutting on Thursday.

lovesculpture-feb2018-03
Danya Henninger / Billy Penn
danya

Sometimes a press release from the city is long and straightforward, clearly laying everything out. The release about welcoming the iconic statue back to LOVE Park on Thursday was definitely not that.

Tucked into the two-sentence description about the city formally announcing the park’s ribbon-cutting date were some seriously interesting tidbits

The first interesting detail is the fact that someone — a “private benefactor” — apparently paid for the LOVE sculpture’s restoration. Or if they didn’t foot the bill for the entire mutliyear project, which was highly publicized and much written about, they “made it possible.”

Who is this mystery public art hero? No hints are given — nor has the person’s funding been mentioned by the city before. We’ll find out this week.

The second surprise Philly officials will give us when they gather at the freshly-refurbished sculpture on April 19 is announcing a “major sponsorship” for the plaza in which the LOVE artwork sits.

Does this mean the iconic spot, which has up to now officially been called JFK Plaza, is getting a new formal name? Possibly — although whatever corporation or organization forked over the dough for the naming rights has to realize how hard it is for old habits to die. No one’s giving up the “LOVE Park” moniker any time soon.

Other “exciting developments” are also promised for the unveiling, so we could also potentially find out about park benches and seating that will address people’s complaints about “hostile design.”

If Thursday’s developments don’t address that, well then it could be time to hate on the new LOVE Park. If you really want.

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