"We are very excited to celebrate this addition to the City of Tallahassee's Southside," said Mayor Andrew Gillum. "On social media, #iHeartTally has become synonymous with the growth and development of our community, and I am looking forward to seeing residents and visitors engage with our new amenity."
Seeking to build community pride, the structure will feature the popular iHeartTally hashtag emblazoned on freestanding letters that spell out TLH, Tallahassee's airport code. Once complete, the steel-finished structure will stand 10 feet tall.
KCCI Community Catalyst volunteers Cosby Hayes and Ryan Sheplak crafted the design, and the FSU Master Craftsman Studio is constructing the sculpture. North American Properties will oversee installation of the art in April, when the structure is due to be completed. Funding was provided by more than 50 community donors and the Community Foundation of North Florida's Knight Foundation grant.
"In recent years, Leon County has become an example for communities around the country for its unprecedented growth in tourism and as a leader in establishing a sense of place," said Leon County Board of County Commissioners Chairman Nick Maddox. "This sculpture will serve as another crown jewel landmark for connectivity and further contribute to that very same positive growth that make education, social and cultural offerings in our area hard to miss."
A mobile version of the iHeartTally hashtag, as seen at the presentation today, was created to complement the permanent structure. It debuted at the Florida Jazz and Blues Festival in October 2017 and has appeared at multiple events in the community since. It is scheduled to appear at many more in the future.
#iHeartTally was launched in 2013 by Leon County Tourism/Visit Tallahassee, the official tourism marketing organization for Leon County. The campaign centers around residents and visitors sharing their favorite Tallahassee-area sights, activities and events through social media. It has since generated more than 213 million social media impressions showcasing tales of Tallahassee as told by those who live, work, play and visit Tallahassee - Leon County.
"There is nothing more rewarding than volunteering with a committed group of citizens who are making our great community an even better place to live," said Jenny Crowley, KCCI 2017 Community Catalyst member and sponsor of the TLH structure. "The mural we painted in Kleman Plaza added a welcoming energy to this area, and now, we are creating a space for all to enjoy that encourages connectivity between downtown, the South Monroe district and the universities."
The #iHeartTally initiative marks KCCI's ninth project year. KCCI has been implementing annual placemaking projects to help attract and retain young professionals in the Tallahassee area. Past projects include Get Gaines Going, Cultivate Cascades Park, The Frenchtown Farmer's Market, See Tallahassee and more.
By drawing visitors and residents to one of Tallahassee's emerging districts with a unique outdoor sculpture, the #iHeartTally team continues KCCI's mission of enhancing the community's identity as a diverse and modern locale.
"The strong local partnerships and financial contributions have been a vital component in helping bring to life a future Tallahassee landmark that the entire community can enjoy," said Betsy Couch, Executive Director for KCCI. "We have been inspired by the support our team has received as they work to make this idea a reality."
Alison Faris, City of Tallahassee Communications Department, 891-8533; Mathieu Cavell, Leon County Community and Media Relations, 606-5300; or Charlotte Waters, KCCI iHeartTally Community Catalyst, (850) 251-5189