‘Love The COV’ sculpture coming to NKY riverfront

A sculpture coming to the Covington riverfront promises to be a 12-foot-tall statement to residents and visitors alike about how much there is to “love” about The Cov.

On Tuesday, the Covington Board of Commissioners accepted the to-be-created “Love The COV” sculpture from Southbank Partners, a nonprofit focused on economic development in the river cities of Northern Kentucky. The gift’s value is $70,000.

The city of Covington is going to place the sculpture at the eastern overlook of Covington Plaza. The backdrop is the Ohio River and the Cincinnati skyline. High-powered lighting will increase visibility at night and also add an extra level of security, according to a city statement.

Rendering of Love The COV sculpture.

Sarah Allan, Covington’s assistant economic development director, described the piece as the latest addition to the city’s growing outdoor art gallery. The collection features an assortment of outlandish murals, ornate mosaics and historic statutes. One of the most beloved public works is the famed Goose Girl Fountain in MainStrasse Village.

Beyond being a point of pride for residents, the sculpture will hopefully become a popular destination for tourists and visitors, Allen said. The city compared “Love The COV” to other social media worthy public artworks across the Midwest – the “What Lifts You” mural in Nashville, the “Cloud Gate” sculpture (commonly known as “The Bean”) in Chicago and the “Sing the Queen City” display along Cincinnati’s riverfront.

“Having art that is accessible to everyone is critical to a city’s vibrancy, and we think this particular piece furthers the dialogue with residents and visitors by showcasing the city’s brand and spirit,” Allen said.

Southbank Partners donated the sculpture as part of its ongoing strategy to use public art to enhance its Riverfront Commons trail project. The goal is to connect the river cities Bromley, Ludlow, Covington, Newport, Bellevue, Dayton, Fort Thomas and Silver Grove by way of a planned 20-mile, mixed-use path along the southern bank of the Ohio River.

Once complete, the path will stretch from Devou Park in the west to Pendery Park in the east.

“We are excited to see this piece come to life later this fall as a fixture of the riverfront and as a must-see while you are in The Cov,” said Will Weber, president and CEO of Southbank Partners.

A stretch of the Riverfront Commons trail in Dayton, Ky.

The artist behind the “Love The COV” sculpture is Indianapolis-based Luke Crawley of Owens + Crawley. That’s the same creative team behind “Everybody’s Bench,” an artistic bench with a canopy of acrylic panels on Scott Street in Covington.

Owens + Crawley’s newest design is a large but playful take on Covington’s popular “Cov” nickname. They’re creating 10-foot-tall block letters for the “C” and “V.” They’re also making a 12-foot-tall red heart to serve as a stand-in for “O.” Each component will have its own foundation.

The sculpture donation was a partnership with Horizon Community Funds of Northern Kentucky and meetNKY, the regional tourism and convention services bureau.

A timeline for the installation of “Love The COV” isn’t yet available.

“Covington Plaza has been a crown jewel of Riverfront Commons since its completion, and we are excited to work with a renowned artist to create an iconic piece for the Covington riverfront – but this is just the beginning,” Weber said.

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