A couple of weeks ago, on Oct. 30 and 31, The Bernice Garden got two emails regarding the 2013 sculpture “Sealed With a Wish,” by husband and wife team John Van Horn and Erika Droke.

The first was from a couple in Joplin, Mo., who hoped to take a trip down to Little Rock to add their own lock. The second was from a couple who plan to honeymoon in Eureka Springs in January and want to drive down to see the sculpture and add a lock.

Both couples found us on Wikipedia, much to our surprise! The entry “List of locations with love locks” says, in the United States section:

Little Rock, Arkansas: “Sealed with a Wish,” is a lock sculpture which adds an urban twist to the traditional public garden wishing fountain and also brings about a new concept for the original idea of love locks. The sculpture is a steel frame in the shape of a fountain, and is one of the artworks chosen for the Bernice Garden (Garden website) 2013 Sculpture Competition. All visitors to the public garden are invited to attach personalized locks to the sculpture, make a wish, and deposit the keys into the center receptacle which acts as a viewing cage. The sculpture will be at the Garden until September 2014, then will find a permanent home nearby in the historic South Main Street community.

Pretty cool.

Of course we told both couples we’d love to meet them and take photos, but it turns out Kathleen and her boyfriend of four years, Will, drove down Monday, Nov. 5, when we were all in post-Cornbread Festival collapse and follow-up mode, so we missed them. But they kindly took pictures for us and shared their story.

Kathleen says they learned of The Bernice Garden and the “Sealed With a Wish” sculpture from watching the movie Now You See Me. We don’t want to spoil the movie for people who haven’t seen it yet, but let it suffice to say that one scene takes place on the “Kissing Bridge” over the River Seine and involves a couple commemorating their love by adding a lock and throwing the keys in the river.

Will researched the Parisian bridge and emailed photos to Kathleen. They read about Love Locks on Wikipedia and found The Bernice Garden listed in the U.S. “as a spin off of the original idea,” Kathleen says.

Since it was so close, Kathleen and Will wanted to be part of the garden’s version.

“Once we found it, we wanted to add our declaration to others, and I had a lock engraved with our names, Will & Kathleen; the date we first met, Aug. 19, 2009; and the date we “Love Locked” the lock, Nov. 5, 2013.

“It rained about half of the way down from Joplin, but the fall leaf display on the trees was GORGEOUS and the time spent was worth it,” Kathleen says.


Kathleen and Will of Joplin, Mo., are part of the permanent “Sealed With a Wish” sculpture now.

They also loved the garden.

“We enjoyed the artistic displays so much and the flowers remind me of the ones I grew up with in San Diego. We want to come back when the display is moved to its permanent location next year.”

So by pure serendipity, the garden has acquired a new lock on the Wish Locks sculpture, new fans and new long-distance friends. And we know they’ll be back.

Kathleen’s watching online from afar and says she hope the garden “continues to flourish and stand proudly on that corner for years to come.”

We do, too. And we’re so glad to be part of your love story, Kathleen and Will.

Two hands, two hearts, one love lock.

Two hands, two hearts, one love lock.