Love Lockdown at the Dayton Mall
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Love Lockdown at the Dayton Mall

Love Lockdown at the Dayton Mall
Joyell Nevins
Thursday, December 10, 2015

Dayton Mall has created their own version of the international craze “Love Locks,” with help from a local sculptor and a lot of loving hearts.

Love Lockdown at the Dayton Mall

Love Locks - Hope!It started with a walk on the Purple People Bridge, and has resulted in more than 1,000 locks on an ever-growing sculpture at the Dayton Mall.

“It’s an ever-changing piece of public art,” says Mall Marketing Director Dave Casper. “People have really gotten into it and enjoyed it.”

Dayton Mall Love Locks Sculpture

From France to Australia to Korea, the idea of “love locks” has become an international sensation. People write a message of love or remembrance on a padlock, lock it on most commonly a bridge or fence, and then throw away the key to symbolize their unbreakable love. When Casper saw the love lock collection underneath the Purple People Bridge, which crosses from Cincinnati to Newport, KY, he wanted to bring that concept to Dayton.

Enter in metal sculptor David Palmer of Troy, who willingly donated his time and talent. His design is an interconnecting heart of metal rods and stands 10 feet tall by 8 feet wide. For $5, any mall goer can purchase a lock, write a message and choose a spot on the heart to hang it. The locks all come from a special supplier in Florida and are offered in five colors.

Santa hangs the first Love LockSanta Claus hung the first lock in December 2014, when the sculpture was slated to be a temporary holiday addition. But the Love Locks became so popular, the heart has now become a permanent addition at the mall.

All of the proceeds go to local charities, many of which are grassroots and have been recommended through public input. From its inception to this fall, the locks have already raised more than $8,500 for charity. 

For this holiday season, lock-ers can choose from one of four charities to contribute:

A Special Wish Foundation, Dayton ChapterGrants wishes to children diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses in Montgomery, Darke, Mercer, Miami, Greene and Shelby counties.

Girls on the Run of DaytonInspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident with running. The youth development program works with girls in third to eighth grade through interactive lessons and running games. It culminates a celebratory 5K running event. 

Hannah’s Treasure ChestEnriches the lives of children in need by providing nonprofit and social service agencies in Butler, Greene, Montgomery, and Warren Counties with clothing, furniture, toys, books and other essential items for their clients.

Shoes 4 the ShoelessProvides new gym shoes and socks to children in need in Montgomery, Miami and Preble Counties by visiting local schools and organizations and personally fitting each child.

Dayton Mall Love Locks Sculpture

Solidarity and Remembrance

In Dayton, Casper noted the locks have taken on a life beyond romantic relationships. There are still locks commemorating lifelong relationships and true love, but they are joined by locks giving messages of hope, messages of solidarity, and messages of remembrance. One of the locks reminds people to “be noble – you’re made of stars.” Some messages are from parents to children, some are written in honor of lasting friendships.

“It’s taken on a life of its own,” Casper says.

© 2021 Dayton Local. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from Dayton Local is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Dayton Local with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About Joyell Nevins

Joyell Nevins
Joyell has been writing for various media for over a decade, and while she's not a native Daytonian, she is continually amazed by the people who care and the places they create in the Gem City.
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