Lock your Love event brings together spirit of love and community

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Monique Irish | The Daily Wildcat

UA sophomores Andrea Gauthier and Luis Rosano decide where to hang their locks to celebrate the year and a half that they have been together on Feb. 11 during the Fourth Avenue Lock your Love event. The event benefits different nonprofits in town.

On Saturday, Feb. 11,  the Lock your Love event took place on Fourth Avenue to celebrate the unveiling of a new “heART" sculpture, and also to connect the community with the spirit of love and local charities.

Next to the each of the six “heART” sculptures, there was a nonprofit organization selling locks for $5, which were donated by the Fourth Avenue Merchants Association. These locks would then go on the sculptures and allow people to “lock their love” forever. 

Monique Vallery, the FAMA events director, said that it’s a great way to get people to know and support the nonprofit organizations in Tucson through a fun setting.

“I think it’s a great way for people to come down to the avenue. It’s a great way to meet nonprofit folks,” said Vallery. 

It’s also a way for the businesses on Fourth Avenue to give back to the community and invite and share with nonprofits.

Lizzie Mead, the owner of Silver Sea Jewelry, said that people like participating in something fun, like the idea of love.

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She said that Lock your Love started when she saw images of fences in Paris being taken down because they couldn’t support the weight of the many love locks attached. This inspired her to go to the Fourth Avenue Merchants Association with the idea of doing something similar to the locks in Paris, but in a way that would be designed to last. 

According to Mead, people are attracted to the meaning behind using a lock to represent love.

“They come and they love it," she said. "It’s good to get out of the house and it’s something interesting and fun to do. People are going to get a lock and they’re going to use it as a symbol of their love."

Monique Irish | The Daily Wildcat

Locks hang on the lock heart located on Fourth Avenue during the Lock your Love event on Feb. 11. The event is put on by the Fourth Avenue Merchants Association.

She also asserts that using a lock doesn’t have to be romantic. People have dedicated one to their entire family or their pets, something she thinks is sweet. 

Businesses, as well as people, enjoy participating in the Lock your Love event. While Silver Sea Jewelry benefits from the the sales, Mead believes that the intent of giving to the community is something that satisfies the business that are involved. 

“I think participating shows goodwill to the community, even if you don’t see financial impact. It’s still participating in your community,” Mead said. 

The nonprofits that were part of the event also benefited from the exposure.

Francie Placencia was part of one of the nonprofit organizations stationed next to a sculpture. She created the Kick Cancer for Stephen Foundation for children who have cancer in honor of her son, Stephen, who passed away from liver cancer. 

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This was her first time at a Lock your Love event and she noted that many people were interested in her cause, and were eager to support it. 

“We were very impressed and happy for the people who came by today," said Placencia. "If they didn’t buy a lock, they donated and wanted to know more about the foundation."

She would love to return and hopes to be able to have a special installation made for the Kick Cancer for Stephen Foundation, like other nonprofits. 

The Southern Arizona AIDS Foundation and the upcoming Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th, shared a table next to a sculpture. The Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th opens this summer and will be a safe place for LGBTQ youth, while opening its doors to anyone else who needs help as well. 

Manny Maldonadobelieves that the event does a good job of spotlighting nonprofits such as the Thornhill Lopez Center on 4th.

“We got many positive responses and people were donating without question,” he said.

This spirit of the community coming together to express their love through locks and supporting local nonprofits is only growing.

“They’re there forever, you can come see them for years,” said Mead. “I want to see one on every corner.”


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