Courtland vies for oversized LOVE artwork

Published 4:41 pm Tuesday, August 16, 2011

COURTLAND—Courtland is up for a statewide tourism promotion that will bring a giant LOVE artwork to one town in Virginia.

As part of the “Bring LOVE to Your Town” event, the Virginia Tourism Corp. will hold a Facebook vote to determine which town will display the artwork. The voting opens at 8 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 17, and closes 5 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 18.

The state tourism office will install the artwork at the winning destination on Aug. 31; it will be on display through September.

The LOVE artwork is 16 feet wide by 8 feet tall and part of the Virginia is for Lovers marketing campaign, which promotes the state as an ideal destination for families. Visitors will be encouraged to take a family picture in front of the artwork and share it on Facebook at and on Twitter, using the hashtag #LOVEVA.

“Our iconic Virginia is for Lovers brand is about love — pure and simple, and has been for more than 40 years,” said Alisa Bailey, president and chief executive officer for Virginia Tourism Corp. “The LOVE artwork has great social media buzz and promotes the message that love is at the heart of every Virginia vacation.”

More than a dozen Virginia localities nominated a local site for the Bring Love to Your Town event. Courtland would display the artwork at the EVB bank along Business 35 and Linden Street across from the Southampton Heritage Village and Agriculture/Forestry Museum.

Heritage Day sponsored by the Southampton County Historical Society is scheduled for Sept. 10. This event draws visitors from outside the area.

The display area for the LOVE artwork is also a few blocks away from the Historic Courtland Walking Tour, which highlights the Mahone Tavern (childhood home of Confederate General William Mahone), the Rochelle Prince House, several other historic homes and buildings, and ends at the Rawls Museum Arts, a partner of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

“The City of Franklin and Southampton County have numerous historic, cultural, and natural resources which offer a wide variety of attractions affordable for all travelers from senior citizens to families with small children,” said Amanda Jarratt, manager of marketing for Franklin Southampton Economic Development. “This is the perfect opportunity for the community to rally together to bring the LOVE artwork to Courtland and showcase what a gem of an area we have.”

“The Tourism Steering Committee made up of local business owners have worked very hard over the past few years to develop a strategic plan for tourism and promote tourism in our local area as we work to diversify our local economy,” Jarratt continued. “It would be a huge success if we could showcase the LOVE artwork in Courtland.”

Teresa Beale, executive director for Franklin-Southampton Area Chamber of Commerce, said she’s excited about this opportunity to promote the area.

“School groups and travelers will come from miles around to see this unique LOVE artwork and boost our local economy by visiting area attractions, restaurants and shops. I encourage everyone to support their community by voting on Facebook.”

“This is a great opportunity for Franklin/Southampton County to get on the map for tourism, added Dan Howe, executive director for Downtown Franklin Association. “Working together to showcase our wonderful community.”

Visit to vote for the Bring Love to Your Town nominees. A link can be found at Franklin Southampton Economic Development Inc.’s Facebook page.