Sunny Goode wasn’t looking for a mission when she stumbled onto her current project. She was just trying to cure a paralyzing creative art block, but the simple configuration of one four-letter word set her on a path to promote relationship health, one mural at a time.
Her work is the newest of Lynchburg’s growing mural scene, dominating the once-blank wall of the old Wells Fargo building on Boonsboro Road.
In early November, she and her team created a graphic letter jumble on the Lynchburg building, spelling out “love” and “evolve” interchangeably.
Goode, president of LOVEVOLVE LLC, wants to create similar murals in cities across the state. Through her company, she recently kicked off an effort to create scarves and baby blankets from the print and spread them to area hospitals, hoping every baby and new parent will be sent home with a blanket and information about healthy relationships.
She has two similar murals in Richmond and shows her work frequently in shows with the Academy Center of the Arts in downtown Lynchburg.
“To me, the whole Love/Evolve mural is about loving everybody but also growing,” Goode said. “It’s a movement. It’s not just staying in [a] particular place, but allowing people to grow.”
Goode’s original art block that led to the LOVEVOLVE project was born out of “major emotional trauma in her life.” About three years ago, she was going through a divorce, and she said long-term unhealthy relationships can be very hard to get out of.
Since then, she’s made it her mission to spread awareness of relationship health and empower people to recognize the signs of an abusive or unhealthy partnership. She works frequently with the One Love Foundation, a nonprofit created in 2010 to honor the memory of Yeardley Love, a University of Virginia senior who was killed by her ex-boyfriend just weeks before graduation.
Jimmy Davis, director of marketing at the Bank of the James, commissioned the work from Goode. In lieu of payment, the Bank of James will make a donation to the foundation.
He said with the building sitting empty, he was on the lookout for a muralist, and Ted Batt, director of visual arts at the Academy, pointed him toward Goode.
He said it came together so easily, it was meant to be.
“The time right now, it’s perfect for a nice come-together central message,” he said. He hopes the wall will become a fixture of the city, a place where people can stop to take photos, or consider it as they drive past.
Batt said the work was thought- provoking, and it was nice to see a mural centered around positivity, something that can drive a response.
He first saw her work in a show hosted by the Academy in 2016. He’s invited her back since for solo shows and anticipates another in the coming year.
Goode was thrilled with the piece and excited to begin spreading the work outside of the Richmond city limits. She pointed out the colors and configuration in the mural and said the jumble of letters represents the nonlinear nature of love, something that can be jumbled or crooked but still whole.
“I believe that words can change your brain,” she said, “and if you see something more positive every day, you become a more positive person.”