Until it was altered last summer, the garage door on Mississippi Street across from Memorial Stadium served as a Lawrence landmark and Kansas University icon. The bright red door with “love” painted across in black cursive appeared in KU memorabilia and was a notorious backdrop for engagement and wedding photos.
In May, someone changed “love” to “Glove.” And just a month after that, the door was painted blue with a new message — “Risk for Adventure” — spray-painted in white. The “love” garage was no more.
In response to the disappointment of many Lawrence residents, a group of local artists planned to restore the message that had become tradition.
On Sunday, those artists brought the “love” back.
“We hope the reaction will be positive,” said Rick Wright, an art instructor at Van Go. “We want something that’s meaningful.”
Van Go, an arts-based social service agency in Lawrence, was recently approached with the idea of repainting the door in hopes of preventing further vandalism. After being granted permission from owner Deb Spencer, artists at Van Go began working on a design.
“As we started thinking about it and researching it, it seemed everybody really liked that message that was up there,” Wright said. “It had a place in the community, so we thought instead of doing something completely different, we’d embrace a bit of what was there.”
The sun was shining Sunday afternoon as Wright, along with four apprentices, painted a red base coat onto the old wooden door at 1200 Mississippi St.
After breaking for a quick lunch to let the paint dry, the group painted the words “love” and “more” using stencils that mimicked the script of the beloved original.
The last step was adding swirls, a signature of Van Go and something Wright called the artists’ “personal flair.”
As for how long he thinks the new paintjob will last, Wright said, it depends on the people of Lawrence.
“It’s really up to the community how well they want to keep it,” Wright said. “In general, if something means something to the community, they’re going to want to protect it a little bit more.”