A new LOVE sign has been installed in the town named for “love”—on Loving Day, no less.
Lovettsville town leaders and close to 50 town residents crowded into the northeast corner of the Town Square on Friday to help artist Jill Evans-Kavaldjian unveil the $7,500, 12-by-6-foot LOVE sign she designed and Purcellville’s Quail Run Signs fabricated. It’s the county’s fourth such sign, with one already installed in Purcellville at the W&OD trailhead and two in Leesburg, one along the W&OD Trail and another outside Catoctin Elementary School. There are more than 200 LOVE signs across the Commonwealth.
During the ceremony, Councilman Mike Dunlap and Visit Loudoun President and CEO Beth Erickson echoed a common sentiment. “It’s all about love,” Erickson said.
Dunlap said the LOVE sign was spearheaded by his wife, Tiffany, who ensured the project remained on track throughout the past two years. In that time, the Virginia Tourism Corporation, Visit Loudoun and Loudoun Economic Development, along with the help of numerous volunteers, worked together to bring the sign to fruition and put Lovettsville on the map, literally. It will be featured on the Virginia is for Lovers webpage.
“This sign is designed for you,” Evans Kavaldjian told residents in attendance on Friday.
Mayor Nate Fontaine said that, although the coronavirus crisis delayed the town’s plans to install and unveil the sign in early April, the timing of the event worked out perfectly, since it was done the first day Northern Virginia entered the second phase of reopenings and because it landed on Loving Day. The Town Council on Thursday recognized the day with a proclamation crafted by two area students—Ella Siebentritt-Clark and Madeleine Metzler.
That day honors the date the United States Supreme Court in 1967 officially legalized interracial marriage—a decision sparked by the case of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple from Virginia who were arrested and banished from the commonwealth after returning home from their wedding in 1958.
Before the sign unveiling, Fontaine presented Ella and Madeline with a copy of the Town Council proclamation.
“I hope that we can all band together as a community to continue to make a difference,” Madeline said.
Evans-Kavaldjian, the planning director for the Loudoun Arts Council and a founding member of the Gateway Gallery in Round Hill and the Catoctin Holiday Art Tour, said the sign reflects the town’s family-oriented community and will be a backdrop for those families to take a photos. The sign, which was made with sheet aluminum, even features a spinning bird atop the “v” for kids to play with.
“I wanted to have something that was interactive,” Evans-Kavaldjian said.
In all, it took Quail Run two weeks to fabricate the sign and a few weeks for Evans-Kavaldjian to design it. But her idea for the sign was one that she crafted more than 15 years ago during a visit with then-Vice Mayor Jim McIntyre and his family. She said she formulated that idea based on a previous sign at the entrance to Lovettsville that read “the town that begins with love.”
Evans-Kavaldjian’s work has ranged anywhere from painting murals to helping to build a float that won the Town of Leesburg’s Halloween parade a few years ago. She displays her artwork in her home studio in Morrisonville—Art at Garden Corner.
Learn more about her work at artatgardencorner.net. Read more about the Virginia is for Lovers campaign at virginia.org/love.