Experience the LOVE Mural highlights positive features of city

Published 9:55 am Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Downtown Franklin is becoming more LOVEly with the addition of another mural on Second Avenue.

Each letter in LOVE features a different facet of what makes Franklin worth visiting. L – Kayakers move along the Blackwater River. O – Downtown shops, shoppers and antique cars from the Cruise-In. V – Fishermen cast their lines at Barrett’s Landing. E – Visitors to We Be Jammin’ enjoy music and dancing by the river.

The mural is the result of a partnership between the state and Franklin as a way to promote tourism and travel, according to Mallory Tuttle, Business Development manager for Franklin Southampton Economic Development Inc. The word choice is also an extension of the “Virginia is for Lovers” brand, and one of the 65-plus giant LOVE letters called LOVEworks throughout the state.

“Our iconic Virginia is for Lovers brand is about love — pure and simple — and has been for more than 45 years,” said Southampton County native Rita McClenny, president and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation. “We are excited to share the LOVE at locations throughout the Commonwealth where so many people can enjoy being a part of it. It reminds us that Virginia is an ideal destination for families looking to completely connect on a Virginia vacation.”

Tourism is an instant revenue generator for the Commonwealth, stated Tuttle. In 2015, visitors spent $23 billion in Virginia, which supported 223,100 jobs and contributed $1.6 billion in state and local taxes.

The artists for the job are Richmond residents Mickael Broth and Ross Trimmer, who have occasionally worked together on about five projects over the past few years.

Broth said he personally has done about 120 projects over the past five years; Ross has created 300 to 400 signs and related works in his career.

Broth, a self-described former graffiti artist, said they were contacted by Tuttle about the opportunity and then made a rough proposal.

Trimmer, who has his own business — Sure Hand Signs — said he favors doing the lettering while the other concentrates on the images. Using spray paint gives the murals a “painterly” quality, added Broth.

Completion is anticipated either by dusk on Tuesday or within a couple of hours today.

“Downtown Franklin is evolving and the addition of the iconic LOVE letters will be the newest attraction to our Main Street community,” Mayor Frank Rabil stated. “The letters highlight first-hand the many reasons to visit our beautiful, historic and charming Downtown. I welcome everyone to come visit Downtown Franklin and take a photo with the letters and while you’re there be sure to support and patronize our local businesses in Downtown Franklin.”

Visitors to the LOVE from Historic Downtown Franklin LOVEwork are encouraged to take pictures with it and share them on Facebook at Facebook.com/VirginiaisforLovers and on Instagram and Twitter, using the hashtag #LOVEVA #VisitFranklinSouthamptonVA. A full list of LOVEworks can be found at Virginia.org/LOVE.