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The LOVE on the FENCE project gathered eight local nonprofits to place colorful signs across Hillsboro.

PMG PHOTO: MAX EGENER - Staff with the Hillsboro Hops hold up their 'LOVE' signs at the Peter Boscow Conference Center as part of the LOVE on the FENCE project by AgeCelebration.Staff at nonprofits across Hillsboro have been coming together at a distance recently to draw colorful signs showing one word — "Love."

The signs are now displayed on fences near four Hillsboro schools and at Hare Field and they'll continue to appear through October at two more schools and the Hillsboro Family Resource Center.

It's part of a fundraising project called "LOVE on the FENCE," which is led by the Hillsboro-based consulting business AgeCelebration and sponsored by eight local businesses.

Cindy Cosenzo, director of AgeCelebration, says the project aims to spread love in Hillsboro communities during difficult times, raise money for nonprofits impacted by the pandemic and "(remind) each of us that love is always on the fence."

PMG PHOTO: MAX EGENER - Cindy Cosenzo, director of AgeCelebration, a consulting business in Hillsboro, promotes her project, LOVE on the FENCE, which brings together local nonprofits to create colorful signs and place them on fences throughout the community."When any two humans are interacting, depending on how things go, we can decide if we're going to respond to life and to each other with love or not," Cosenzo said. "It's a moment-to-moment decision — it's always sitting there on the fence."

Cosenzo is asking anyone who passes by the signs and feels affected by the positive messaging to donate to the nonprofits who created the signs. People can also create their own signs, put them up and post photos on social media.

Local artist Elizabeth Higgins partnered with Cosenzo for the project, designing the outline of the word "Love" that appears on all the signs, which people can download.

When nonprofit staff come together to draw, she encourages them to use the time to express themselves because she knows people might not have a lot of time to make art these days. She says creating art and group art projects can be therapeutic.

PMG PHOTO: MAX EGENER - 'Love' signs created by Hillsboro Hops staff as part of 'LOVE on the FENCE.'"It's the same thing when I teach my painting classes, people don't like to draw necessarily, they just want to paint, they just want to express themselves with color," Higgins said. "This is giving people the chance to do that, just express yourself without having to think too much."

On Oct. 8, members of the Hillsboro Hops front office staff gathered outside the Peter Boscow Conference Center to create signs for the project hoping to raise donations for the Hillsboro Hops Fund, which seeks to support youth through education and sports activities.

Coloring her sign with Hops-themed art, Jen Anderson, senior director of fan experience for the minor league baseball team, said she and her colleagues wanted to get involved in the project because youth sports have dramatically reduced during the pandemic.

PMG PHOTO: MAX EGENER - Jen Anderson, left, senior director of fan experience with the Hillsboro Hops, and Hallie Holton, an account executive, create colorful signs as part of LOVE on the FENCE."With everything going on, with us not having a season, it's been hard to figure out how we can help, but something like this came along where we can come together as a team and contribute," Anderson said, adding that when youth sports fully return to normal, they'll be more needed than ever.

She said the event was a great way for Hops staff to reconnect after mostly only seeing each other over digital meetings for months and discover who had secret artistic talents. The Hops' season was canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

PMG PHOTO: MAX EGENER - Hillsboro Hops staff participate in LOVE on the FENCE, a project bringing together Hillsboro nonprofits to create colorful signs and place them on fences throughout the community."We like to think of (Hops games) as a gathering place for the community, and that got taken away this year, so this is a good way to try to continue that goal," Anderson said.

Visit the AgeCelebration Facebook page for info about how to donate to participating nonprofits and get involved.


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