12 LOVE signs: A guide to finding LOVEworks in Central Va.
RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - If you’ve traveled around Virginia, you have likely come across some of the beautiful LOVEwork displays.
A LOVEwork is an art piece that spells out the word “LOVE” in big letters. This state-wide initiative aims to highlight the “Virginia is for Lovers” message, spread positivity, and promote Virginia travel.
Since 2013, these art displays have become wildly popular; now there are more than 300 of them at various Virginia landmarks.
Each LOVE sign is unique in design and typically holds special meaning to the place where it’s located.
The LOVEwork at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, for example, represents the beauty of nature. The L is a flower bed filled with seasonal displays, the O is designed to look like a honeycomb beehive, the V is made out of recycled shovels and gardening materials, the E is painted to look like planet Earth.
Here are our 12 recommendations for fun spots to see LOVEworks around RVA! Lots of LOVE, NBC12:
In 2019, Reservoir Distillery commissioned local artist Ed Trask to create Richmond’s first LOVEwork mural. The art piece served as a celebration of 50 Years of Love and the 10th anniversary of Reservoir. The mural is extremely bright and colorful, covering the entire side of the building. You can’t miss this eye-catching piece.
The ideas for each letter were designed by Garden staff from all departments to invite, welcome and celebrate guests. The letters represent the beauty of our natural environment. It features recycled materials, a painted Earth, and a live flowerbed. The LOVEwork is also featured during the Garden’s annual holiday light display.
The Virginia State tourism office sits at the heart of Richmond and features a giant LOVEwork in their Welcome Center. It’s approximately 16 feet wide and 8 feet tall and ties into Virginia’s message that “Love is at the heart of every Virginia vacation.” The classic “Virginia is for Lovers” slogan is written in the O. The V is a bright red, representing 50 years of Love.
This is one of the most eye-catching LOVEworks in the area! The massive display letters are made from race-themed materials such as Goodyear tires, racing helmets, and sheet metal from cars that raced in NASCAR. You can’t miss the giant checkered O that resembles the checkered flag that waves at the end of a race. The LOVEwork represents the thrilling sense of community that Richmond Raceway has brought to the region through the years.
The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen offers lots of opportunities for Virginians to enjoy the performing and visual arts. Their LOVEwork display truly represents that. From music notes to paint brushes, spotlights, ballet slippers, and more, this LOVEwork includes tons of artistic symbolism.
The concepts for each letter were developed by Ryan Imirie, the Center’s Guest Services Associate, with input and assembly assistance by Center staff and volunteers. The display is a conglomeration of all things creativity. “This indicates the sharing of our love of the visual and performing arts with people of all ages, cultures, and abilities.”
Virginia is for Lovers says that Regency Square’s giant letters were created during its 40th anniversary celebration in October 2015 with the help of Art on Wheels and many members of the community. The actual piece was created by riding tricycles equipped with paint dispensers across plywood boards pre-cut in the shape of the letters L-O-V-E. Those tricycle wheels created a beautiful swirling design on the LOVE letters which stands in the mall now.
The National Association of Women in Construction built a LOVEworks sign out of different construction-related materials. Steel beams, bricks, and a giant measuring tape, to name a few. The NAWIC logo acts as the letter O.
They partnered with the college to build this sign, bringing recognition to women in the construction industry. They also wanted to highlight JSRCC’s workforce development program and their construction and engineering-related programs.
For thrill-seekers in Virginia, Kings Dominion is the perfect place to visit. While you’re there, look for their LOVEwork, which highlights some of their most famous attractions. This includes the Intimidator 305 which is the tallest roller coaster in the park.
It also features some of the more classic rides such as the carousel and Rebel Yell wooden coaster. There are also images of Kings Dominion’s “Soak City” water park and Eiffel Tower.
The design for this LOVEwork was inspired by the famous history of Meadow Stable, home of the legendary Triple Crown champion, Secretariat. The big letters were made out of wood from the fences there, and decorated with horseshoes and the stable’s classic blue and white colors.
The display is placed near the barn where Secretariat was born which is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the Virginia Landmarks Register.
“The design, planning, and creation of the Charles City County LOVEwork was done by more than 100 fifth- and sixth-graders at the Charles City County Elementary School,” the Virginia is For Lovers campaign says. “These students, led by their art teacher, Elysa Harris, started the project at the beginning of the 2016/2017 school year by brainstorming ideas of what best represents their county. Students submitted concept sketches and after that the final design emerged. All students taking part in the design and creation autographed the back of the sign with their handprint and name.”
Each letter represents a different aspect of the county with all of the designs tying back to the theme of nature. The art features images of rivers, deer, bikers, and sunsets.
Designed and built in Powhatan by a community member and his wife! The LOVEwork sign is well-known in the community and has been a real hit with residents and visitors alike. The bold, red sign has served as a prop for all sorts of photos such as family reunions, prom pictures and engagement photos. It has also been featured at community festivals and events.
Located at the Keystone Antique Truck and Tractor Museum, the Colonial Heights LOVE sign was created to reflect the theme of the museum. The “L” is made from steel engine parts; the “O” is a large tractor tire; the “V” is exhaust mufflers; and the “E” is created from oil barrels.
Just 30 minutes from Richmond, Keystone offers visitors a time warp of antique road trucks, classic cars, vintage gas pumps, oil cans, automotive signage, clocks, antique advertising posters and more.
These LOVEworks around Richmond are reflective of a vibrant community displaying their unique specialties through art. The pieces listed, while beautiful and unique, only scratch the surface of what’s out there.
Virginia is for Lovers encourages people to travel around the Commonwealth and visit the different displays. If you want to explore beyond Richmond, a map of the 300+ Virginia LOVEworks can be found here.
Copyright 2022 WWBT. All rights reserved.
Want NBC12’s top stories in your inbox each morning? Subscribe here.