Lorton, VA – (Jan. 28, 2019)  The Workhouse Arts Center is pleased to announce the unveiling of the Virginia Tourism LOVEworks sign permanently located on the Workhouse campus Quad on Friday, February 14, 2020 at 10:00 am. This event is open to the public.

A ribbon-cutting will take place after remarks from several notable county executives, including Supervisor Dan Storck, Visit Fairfax President & CEO Barry Biggar, and Workhouse Arts Center President & CEO Ava Spece. A pop-up coffee bar hosted by Dunkin’ Donuts and other treats will be available.

The unveiling will be part of a week-long celebration of love that also includes The Chocolatier, a culinary workshop (Friday, February 7, 6-9 PM); Couples Yoga and Cacao Chocolate Tasting (Saturday, February 8, 1-3 PM); the Second Saturday Art Walk (Saturday, February 8, 6-9 PM); and Couples Therapy: A Comedy Show by Rahmein Presents (Friday, February 14, 8 PM.)

Artist Marlon Diggs, “Marly McFly,” transformed the Virginia Tourism LOVEworks sign at the end of 2019.  He was selected by a jury from an open call for artists to have their work featured on the LOVEworks sign. Using acrylic and spray paint, the transformation took a total of 4 days.

McFly found inspiration in the word “love” and created a collage of facial expressions communicating this term of affection. Through layered and intertwined colorways, graphics and texture, his work represents a melting pot of culture.

He rooted the artwork by acknowledging the LOVEworks sign’s location through the incorporation of brick and archway visual elements, each representative of the Workhouse Arts Center’s history.

The LOVE letters, representing the “Virginia is for Lovers” slogan, is Fairfax County’s first permanent Virginia LOVEworks sign. Last summer, as part of the state’s celebration of the iconic slogan’s 50th anniversary, Visit Fairfax, the county’s official tourism organization, held a ribbon-cutting for the sign before sending it off on an 11-stop tour of Fairfax County, highlighting the various visitor experiences within the destination.

“Visit Fairfax is thrilled that Fairfax County’s first official LOVEworks sign now has a permanent home at the stunning Workhouse Arts Center, a place that brings together the county’s past and present in a beautifully rich way and truly showcases the power of art,” said Barry Biggar, Visit Fairfax President & CEO. “Visitors and residents will enjoy snapping photos with the sign and spending time at this gem of an attraction in Fairfax County.”

Workhouse Arts Center is a vibrant organization located at a truly unique site that offers engaging opportunities and inspiring experiences in visual and performing arts, history and education.  Public art is important to enriching communities, igniting imagination, encouraging thought and brightening our common spaces.

About the Workhouse Arts Center.
The property on which the Workhouse stands was purchased from the Federal Government in 2002.  The abandoned former Occoquan Workhouse, founded in 1910 as part of the District of Columbia’s Correctional Facility in Lorton, Virginia, was transformed into a cultural arts center which opened its doors to the public in 2008; the Workhouse Arts Center is a multidisciplinary arts center offering a broad array of arts experiences, the majority of which are free or low-cost, to the public.

Situated on a 55-acre campus in Northern Virginia, the Workhouse Arts Center is one of the nation's largest and most innovative adaptive reuse art projects, providing high-quality, interactive arts experiences for 100,000 visitors annually.  Open to the public, the Workhouse provides 300 performances, 800 classes, and 100 exhibitions annually along with several large-scale community events including Workhouse Fireworks, Workhouse Brewfest, and Workhouse Haunted Trail.  The Workhouse provides studio and exhibit space to 85+ artists who work, show, and sell on campus.  The Workhouse is also a member of the first-ever multijurisdictional arts district, the NOVA Arts and Cultural District including the Town of Occoquan and Occoquan Regional Park.

The Workhouse represents not only an adaptive reuse of the facility, but a place that honors our own history as a correctional facility as a means to educate and inspire creative responses to important events in American history.

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Mina Habibi
Marketing Associate
Workhouse Arts Center