Research shows that communities with a defined sense of place excel at attracting and retaining young professionals and the creative class and experience greater economic prosperity. Since 2007, the Knight Creative Communities Institute (KCCI) has been making positive change in the Tallahassee community. KCCI brings together a diverse group of community “Catalysts,” change-agents in the Tallahassee community who implement “sense of place” projects that help retain, attract and harness talent, revitalize, engage, or activate an area of Tallahassee, and increase entrepreneurship and enhance Tallahassee’s economic mobility.
The Department’s Arts Administration Doctoral student Charlotte Waters was chosen as a Catalyst for the 2017 KCCI project, #iHeartTally, which broke ground last winter. The project involved enhancing the community’s sense of place, enhance Tallahassee’s economic vitality, and raise awareness of Tallahassee’s offerings by creating an urban park experience with the hashtag as outdoor art.
The #iHeartTally KCCI Community Catalyst team, including Waters, will bring the prominent hashtag to life by designing, implementing and promoting a life-sized, 3-D representation of the #iHeartTally characters. The team started in January, 2017, and has scouted and selected a location for the urban park experience that focuses on and includes the South Monroe area between Florida A&M University, Florida State University and the Florida Capitol. The team has also designed a smaller mobile version that will travel around the community beginning in the next few months.
After securing a location for the installation of the life-size #iHeartTally structure, the team began fundraising efforts in late June 2017. The letters were created by team member and designer Ryan Sheplak and artist Cosby Hayes with input from the KCCI team and the community. The structure will be built by local artists at the FSU Master Craftsman Studio.
On Thursday, January 18, 2018, at 10:00 a.m., plans for the new artistic structure designed to further enhance the portion of Capital Cascades Trail between Cascades Park and FAMU Way were revealed by #iHeartTally KCCI Community Catalyst team, the City of Tallahassee, Leon County Government, and business leaders. After 11 months of community conversations, this announcement provides details of a centerpiece artistic structure to be constructed. When complete, residents and visitor of all ages will enjoy the newly reimagined space. The sculpture will be located on West Side of Cascades Pedestrian Bridge, near Adams St. Attendees of the reveal included the City of Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, Leon County Commission Chairman Nick Maddox, FAMU President Dr. Larry Robinson, Leon County Tourist Development Council Chairman Bo Schmitz, Debbie Bergstrom, KCCI iHeartTally Community Catalyst, and Community Partners.