New Public Artwork Celebrates the Universality of Love

LOVE by Robert Indiana
LOVE by Robert Indiana

This morning a new statue was unveiled in downtown Grand Rapids and the organization behind it hopes it will serve as a backdrop for many people’s big celebrations.

Members of the Grand Rapids-based Frey Foundation unveiled “LOVE,” a sculpture by artist Robert Indiana, on Wednesday. The permanent 8×8-foot sculpture is located on a platform at Louis Campau Promenade.

Tripp Frey, Frey Foundation trustee, said the foundation began its quest to bring a piece of public art to downtown Grand Rapids three years ago. It sought the help of Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park’s Joe Becherer, chief curator, who helped identify 30 potential artists and pieces.

“Joe really guided us through this process,” Frey said. “We had one overarching goal. That was to bring an iconic piece of art, something that would be a part of the fabric of the city.”

He said the “LOVE” sculpture won out because it is “relatable and approachable to everyone.”

Robert Indiana by D. Griggs Photography
Robert Indiana by D. Griggs Photography

“It sends a great message,” Frey said. “Everyone wants to be loved and give love, no matter race, sexual orientation, you can relate to this piece of art.”

Louis Campau Promenade was selected as the location for the new sculpture because of its proximity to other iconic downtown sculptures like the Calder, Split Ring and the Ecliptic.

Grand Rapids joins a distinct set of cities across the world, from New York to Jerusalem, to Tokyo and Philadelphia displaying an iconic “LOVE” piece.

Indiana’s original sculpture was created in 1965, and it is now displayed in the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

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