Woodstock officials unveil LOVEwork art installation

A crowd gathers around The Town of Woodstock's LOVE artwork installation after it was unveiled Thursday on South Main Street below the Massanutten Military Academy's dining hall. Rich Cooley/Daily

The newest LOVEwork public art display was unveiled Thursday afternoon in Woodstock to a crowd of about 70 people.

Woodstock’s art installation of the word LOVE can be found on South Main Street on the Massanutten Military Academy campus below the dining hall. There are more than 100 LOVE art displays in Virginia, part of the  LOVEworks campaign across the state. LOVEworks is an extension of the state’s “Virginia is for Lovers.” brand.

“It is beautiful,” said local artist Kary Haun on seeing the unveiled public art display.

“It is stunning,” said Kathleen Reilly, Tourism Relations Manager for Virginia.

“Cool,” said 6 -year-old Abby Bowers, of Woodstock.”

Abby Bowers, 6, of Woodstock, stands near the LOVE artwork. Rich Cooley/Daily

Bowers said she liked the letter E, a replica of the Woodstock Tower, and wanted to be a squirrel so she could play on it.

That was a reference to a comment made by Woodstock Public Works employee Mike George who led Travis Hoffman and Dustin George in the construction of the metal letters that make up the LOVE sign.

“The tower was the last piece we built and it is personally my favorite,” George said of the replica. “Even the steps are the exact amount. The squirrels are going to have a ball climbing it.”

Each letter is representative of Woodstock.

The blue L is the Swiss Guard, representative of the guard that sits atop Woodstock’s historic courthouse.

The O is a hot air balloon, representing unique outdoor recreational opportunities in Woodstock and Shenandoah County.

“Residents never tire of watching these beautiful and unique aircraft in flight overhead.,” said Katie Mercer, director of marketing and events.

The green V represents the value Woodstock residents give to the town’s public spaces. The intricate vine weaving throughout the letter represents the plant life found in Woodstock.

The town budgeted $8,000 for the art installation and received a $1,500 grant from the Virginia Tourism Corporation, Mercer said.

Town administrators anticipate the LOVE art installation will become a tourist draw, as have so many other installations in other communities.

“Not only is this art beautiful and interesting with each story it tells, but it creates a fun place to visit. Numerous couples and families from within Virginia and outside of the state have made it their mission to visit all the LOVEworks,” Mercer said.

That means not only people sharing their experience in Woodstock but also  tourism revenue coming into the town.

Stephanie Lillard, tourism development specialist for the Virginia Tourism Corporation, said all of the LOVEworks installations can be seen on their website at www.virginia.org/love