Stephanie's Heroes: Elizabeth Breeden

June 17, 2013

One Charlottesville woman is making a difference in the community through art. In this week's Stephanie's Heroes, CBS19's Stephanie Satchell is featuring Elizabeth Breeden who has spent several years decorating the City of Charlottesville with art.

If you've driven along the streets of Charlottesville over the last decade, you've probably seen dozens of sculptures.

They're all a part of Art in Place. It's a program that Elizabeth Breeden helped create in 2001 to make art accessible to everyone.

"Art actually is so valuable to make sure that we have some expression that it's not just words or it's not just factual rendition that express our emotions. Art is what holds us together. Art is so much the glue," said Breeden.

Each year, 10 different attention-grabbing sculptures are featured alongside the city's busiest roads.

"It's got to be metal. It's got to be bright. It's got to be obvious," said Breeden.

The sculptures are all of those things. In fact, they were so bold that it took a while for some folks to catch on to the creations in the beginning.

"Once you get the notion that it's a movable show, you can hate a piece with passion and it would go away or you could really enjoy a piece and it would go away. Then the town embraced it," said Breeden.

Now Breeden is also using her love for art to help with another project in Charlottesville. She's a part of the Dialogue on Race.

She's working to replace an empty spot in front of the Jefferson School City Center with a sculpture commemorating the Vinegar Hill neighborhood.

"It's been so much fun to discover and to feel what you're trying to do saying this is a piece of all of our history that we don't want to lose," said Breeden.

Breeden and the others on the Dialogue on Race hope the empty space at the old school will soon turn into a place where people can learn and reflect.

"You want to make sure that you remember that neighborhood and that history in its place in our entire town and what the people who lived in that neighborhood contributed," said Breeden.

From the Vinegar Hill monument to the dozens of other unique Art in Place sculptures that have made an appearance in the city, Breedeen hopes her efforts have and will continue to touch the community.

Not all of the Art in Place sculptures are removed after being on up for a year. Some are donated to the City of Charlottesville and remain on display.

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