Workhouse LOVEworks sign gets fresh new look


The LOVEworks sign at the Workhouse Arts Center in Lorton has a fresh new look thanks to the meticulous work of fiber artist Marisela Rumberg.

Rumberg, a native of Mexico and award-winning quilter who has had an art studio at the Workhouse since 2015, specializes in free-motion quilting and Zentangle —a form of abstract art based on structured patterns. Combining those two techniques, she painted intricate designs on the LOVE installation over the course of 11 days. The previous painting of the installation, performed in 2019 by artist Marlon Diggs, had taken four days using acrylic and spray paint.

Marisela Rumberg on day 7 of 11 painting days (Credit: Marisela Rumberg)

Rumberg’s biggest challenge while painting was the weather. During the first few days of sanding and priming, cold temperatures made the metal structure freezing to the touch. Days later, hot weather made the sign equally difficult to handle. Despite some rainy and windy days in-between, which Rumberg chronicled on her Facebook page, she finished the mural April 14. The Workhouse plans to hold a ceremony marking its official debut, she said.

The newly painted LOVE sign on the Workhouse Quad, which was Fairfax County’s first permanent LOVEwork, was not Rumberg’s first mural design project. In 2021, she was selected to refresh the wooden LOVEwork sign at Occoquan’s River Mill Park. The following year, she was asked to paint a mural on a three-story building in Culpeper, which she accomplished by using a cherry picker. She is game to paint more murals or LOVE signs.

A 3-story building that Rumberg painted in Culpeper, Virginia (Credit: Marisela Rumberg)

“If you have a wall, I want to paint it,” she said, while admitting, “It’s easier to have your feet on the ground.”

Until her next mural project, Rumberg continues to teach Zentangle classes on Zoom and take acrylic painting classes, a new interest for her. She is preparing to be the featured artist in Workhouse Building W-6 starting from the Second Saturday Art Walk event June 10 to the following one July 2. During that time, she’ll have a solo exhibition of her fiber art creations in the entrance area of the building.

The Workhouse Arts Center is located at 9518 Workhouse Way in Lorton.

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