Chapel Hill, NC, November 27, 2017— As you travel around downtown Chapel Hill, take the time to come say hello to Rainbow Ram.
Rainbow Ram, located at the Chapel Hill/Orange County’s Visitors Center, 501 W. Franklin Street (Corner of Roberson) is a colorful, 4-foot tall expression of the love that Tar Heel fans have for their beloved mascot, Rameses.
Rainbow Ram will be on display for the approximately 12,000 annual visitors who stop by the Welcome Center in search of information on the greater Chapel Hill area. Additionally, the Rainbow Ram will be available to area school children and group meetings thanks to its installation on a moveable cart.
Rameses has been the official mascot of the North Carolina Tar Heels since 1924 when head cheerleader Vic Huggins noticed a lack of school spirit for the Tar Heels. So instead of making the school’s mascot a giant foot with black muck on the heel, he suggested that the team make its mascot a ram. The idea was based on UNC’s star football player, Jack Merritt, who was nicknamed, the “Battering Ram.”
The idea of a photogenic Ram sculpture came from visitor’s bureau staff who received many requests from guests who wanted a “selfie” in front of an iconic image of Chapel Hill and UNC.
After visitor’s bureau staff located a paintable fiberglass ram from Icon-Poly, a family-owned company based in central Nebraska, they decided to find a local artist who could paint the Ram in a style that made people smile, young and old.
The Visitors Bureau turned to local artist Steven Ray Miller, who had already painted a cow, a goat, and a pig to benefit local causes. Miller is known for covering these animals completely in rainbow-colored hearts. His first success was with HeARTstanding Cow, one of 80 cows painted to benefit the North Carolina Children’s Hospital. The miniature replicas were the most popular in Cow Parade’s international sales.
Miller’s HeARTy Hog, created for Hog Day, can be seen at Hillsborough’s Visitors Center, located at 150 E. King Street.
Miller is the current recipient of the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Chamber of Commerce’s Micro-Enterprise Business of the Year award.
The Visitors Bureau paid Miller a $700 honorarium for the design, painting, and supplies to complete the project. Miller also mounted Rainbow Ram on a rolling wooden platform that can be taken to local schools and events. Please contact the Visitors Bureau at 919-245-4320 for information.
Tar Heel fans will be happy to see that the painted hearts cover Rainbow Ram’s horns in various shades of Carolina blue.
The ram statue is located indoors at the Visitors Center, visible from the outside, and always ready for photo opportunities.