It took a crane to lift the nearly half-ton statue of a black M with a red heart off a trailer and into Daisy Park on Thursday afternoon.
Rubberneckers drove by slowly. Some drivers honked their horns as the lowercase M was lowered to its permanent home.
“I’m excited,” said the artist, Jamie Ragan, as the 8-foot statue was secured.
For the past six months, the statue was a work in progress in Ragan’s parents’ basement. It is set for unveiling at 3 p.m. Friday in a corner of the park, on Forsyth Street across from the Children’s Hospital.
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The M was inspired by the “I Love Macon” campaign, created in 2012 by a group of young community leaders. Its aim was to encourage people who live in Macon to focus on positive aspects of the community. The message soon began appearing on bumper stickers, T-shirts, pens and postcards.
Ragan said she saw the logo more and more each time she came home from college.
“I thought it was cool,” she said. “I wanted to make something kind of representing we’re moving forward as a city.”
She was inspired by friends from school who created public art around campus.
In April 2013, she won a Knight Neighborhood Challenge grant of $20,000. She got to work in October and had finished by February. She used different kinds of steel in the project for added stability.
“The only really technical thing we had to do before I started building was go through a structural engineer and do ... a test (to) make sure that with my infrastructure design it would be OK,” she said.
Ragan came home from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis for the installation. She chose the Indiana university because it has a program in which students can create public art for a city.
“I really like the idea of what I do meaning something,” Ragan said. “A big thing for people is wanting to make a difference. So, I think the easiest way for me to do that is to make things big and that are in people’s face and that have a positive message.”
To contact writer Laura Corley, call 744-4382.