Installation of the controversial Forever Marilyn statue has begun in Palm Springs
Pieces of the Forever Marilyn statue arrived in Palm Springs Tuesday night. The sculpture left New Jersey on two trucks on June 1.
Viewers sent in pictures of the sculpture's head and leg out near the site where it will soon stand. Forever Marilyn will be placed on Museum Way in downtown Palm Springs right behind the Kimpton Rowan Hotel.
The sculpture was originally set to be unveiled in April, however, a combination of factors delayed construction and the unveiling ceremony. One of the major roadblocks was a lawsuit filed by "the Committee to Relocate Marilyn (CReMa)," which led a judge to issue a temporary restraining order stopping construction.
Check Out: Forever Marilyn lawsuit court documents
“We don’t feel that they really listened to the voices of business owners like myself, the Palm Springs Art Museum, various community groups, over 40,000 people who signed the change.org "Me Too" Marilyn petition," said Trina Turk, the co-founder of CReMa. CReMa is not opposed to the statue returning to Palm Springs, they argue the placement obstructs the view to the Palm Springs Art Museum and interferes with the original 2016 downtown plan. “Not everyone in Palm Springs is for this and there is a big part of the community that is against its placement on Museum Way,” said Turk.
Many locals visited the statue Wednesday while installation was in progress. “I understand why people are opposed to it and actually I am too,” said Bart Vis, Coachella Valley resident against the return of Marilyn. He said the statue is disrespectful.
Originally, the statue was going to be greeted by people as it was driving into Palm Springs. The lawsuit and ongoing controversy put a dent in those plans. “She definitely was a major hit when she was here for 26 months from 2012 - 2014. We are hoping and anticipating the same or even greater positive reception,” said Aftab Dada, chairman with PS Resorts. Dada said they will be moving forward with promotions and marketing now that she is here.
Some locals who visited Marilyn Wednesday have been looking forward to her return. “I loved seeing her in her old location because I would use that as a mapping point, like ok I’ll meet you at Marilyn and we would meet downtown and come spend all our money at the restaurants,” said Jerry Howson, a Palm Springs resident. “I’m so tickled. It’s been such a long time coming and they spend all that money to get her here and we had a few fights but now it’s great, so glad she’s here,” said Lyle Haas, another Palm Springs resident.
We are told the statue is under a three year contract for its placement and is set to be unveiled Sunday, June 20th from 7 - 8 p.m.
“I have a strong feeling having her right in the heart of downtown it is going to immensely help the 500+ merchants,” said Dada. “I think it’s a false narrative that it is going to save the day for all these businesses,” said Turk. We were able to speak to one business that said they are looking forward to the statue bringing in more customers. “I think people will google it and find out she’s here and they’re going to come," said Michael Thomas, employee at On the Mark. He said people will walk past and notice the store to get to the statue and they may not have ever noticed it was there before.
To find out more on the Forever Marilyn controversy you can visit the stories below.