1928 - Alderson High School - 1968
Contact:  Mayor Travis Copenhaver 304-445-2916 / Margaret Hambrick 304-646-2439
The Lion Returns To Alderson A   life-sized   lion   sculpture   by   Michael   Loop   was   installed   in   Alderson   on   Tuesday,   May   23,   2017.   This project   was   managed   by   Melinda   Russell,   chair   of   Alderson   Main   Street’s   Public   Art   Committee   and funded by the Hamilton Family Foundation. Almost   everyone   in   Alderson   and   even   beyond   knows   the   story   of   the   lion   cub   who   was   born   and   raised there.   His   exploits   caused   the   Town   Council   to   pass   an   ordinance   saying   that   any   lion   roaming   the   town streets must be on a leash! In   recent   years   Alderson   has   been   using   the   lion   as   a   “brand”   for   the   town.   Lions   have   appeared everywhere   from   public   properties   to   private   spaces.   Melinda   Russell   conceived   the   idea   of   having   a   large lion   sculpture   as   a   centerpiece   of   the   town.   She   requested   and   received   a   grant   from   the   Hamilton   Family Foundation and soon located a sculptor. Michael   Loop   is   an   artist,   currently   living   in   Morgantown,   WV.   After   receiving   his   BFA   from   West   Virginia University   in   1998,   Loop   travelled   extensively   around   the   United   States   assisting   several   artists   to   include Albert   Paley,   Christopher   Weed,   Paul   Knoblauch,   Sean   Calyer,   Shoji   Satake,   and   Jason   Lee,   honing   a multi-faceted   understanding   of   material   and   process.   After   a   12   year   sabbatical   from   academia,   he returned   to   West   Virginia   University,   under   the   guidance   of   a   fresh   faculty   to   receive   his   MFA   with   a concentration   in   sculpture   in   2013.   The   decision   to   return   to   academia   was   a   conscious   decision   to   allow an investigation into his personal aesthetic and process. As   Loop’s   work   has   grown   in   sophistication,   his   exhibition   record   has   accelerated   as   well.   To   date,   he   has shown   extensively   around   the   country,   including   exhibitions   in   New   York,   Pennsylvania,   Florida,   Ohio   and West Virginia. Currently   Loop   serves   as   an   adjunct   lecturer   at   West   Virginia   and   Fairmont   State   Universities   teaching foundation   art   classes   in   drawing,   2D   and   3D   design,   and   upper   level   classes   in   sculpture   and   multi- media.   Along   with   his   teaching   duties,   he   also   serves   as   the   preparator   for   the   Mesaros   Galleries   in   the Creative Arts Center at West Virginia University under the curatorial direction of Robert Bridges. Passersby   slowed   down   to   have   a   good   look   during   the   installation   and   a   lot   of   memory   was   used   in   cell phone   cameras.   Loop   explained   to   the   group   that   he   had   used   a   lot   of   motorcycle   parts   to   create   the   lion and   got   “a   bit   carried   away”   with   the   tail.   He   even   fashioned   a   leash   for   the   lion.   The   springs   in   the   legs convey a sense of coiled energy and the hip joints seem to almost work. Russell   said,   “I   am   thrilled   with   the   finished   product.   To   see   muscles   translated   into   metal   and   still   convey such a sense of movement is the mark of an excellent sculptor. I think this lion will bring smiles to many faces.” PHOTO   CAPTION:   “The   Alderson   Lion”   as   sculpted   by   Michael   Loop   (R)   and   observed   by   Melinda Russell (L).
(Click on photo for larger view)