Don't knock the big red ram.
Or actually, go right ahead. It's fine either way, say leaders of the Ferndale Downtown Development Authority, who have been working hard over the past several months to bring more public art to the city.
The red ram and 10 other sculptures recently intalled throughout town are part of the city's ARTWN initiative to add and showcase public art.
Ferndale Mayor Dave Coulter asked for a show of hands of who likes the red ram on Thursday evening during the initiative's big event held at the Rust Belt Market (see a photo gallery from the event here).
While many guests at the event raised a hand in support of the ram, the mayor wasn't ashamed to admit that he isn't necessarily among the fans of the bright red sculpture, which has drawn both praise and criticism since it was installed a few weeks ago.
"This is the point," he said. "How boring would it be if we all had the same opinions and liked the same things?"
All of the public art adds to the city's "sense of place," Coulter said.
"Ferndale doesn't want to be like every other city," he continued.
And DDA communications manager Chris Hughes admits she couldn't suppress an initial smile when she saw that someone had added a PEZ logo to the sculpture sometime the day before the event.
"It's a thought," she said. "It evokes a thought in people."
Hughes says residents have told her the sculpture reminds them of a PEZ dispenser and, making light of the defacing, organizers even considered ordering custom PEZ dispensers for the ARTWN event on Thursday. But she does hope the logo can be removed.
"If it comes off easily then I think it's fun," she said.
Another nod to the red ram at the event was a paper fan guests used to cool off with that depicted the sculpture and read "Red Ram Fan."
Chris Gorski, owner of DetroitGT t-shirt company based in Ferndale, noticed the PEZ logo on the ram and turned it into an opportunity for a new shirt design.
"It's been such a subject of conversation in Ferndale," he said, but he's quick to point out he wasn't involved in adding the logo to the sculpture. "I did not do any of the defacing."
Just hours before the ARTWN event was set to kick off, Gorski sent a quick design to his screenprinter and by 6:30 p.m. he had a small batch of shirts ready to go - with a percentage of the proceeds benefiting ARTWN.
"So far it's been a pretty popular item," he said during the event.
So even if you're not a fan of the red ram, it's all part of the purpose of public art, DDA leaders say - evoking thought, starting conversations, and bringing people to the city and its businesses.
What do you think?
Let's keep the conversation going. How do you feel about the city's new public art? Which new sculpture is your favorite?