03 Apr Marilyn is on the move!

The “Forever Marilyn” statue, a fixture in downtown Palm Springs for nearly two years will be transported today to its next stop — New Jersey.

A send-off event was held last Thursday for the sculpture, which had resided at Palm Canyon Drive and Tahquitz Canyon Way since May 2012. People who’ve taken photos with “Forever Marilyn” were encouraged to contribute to a photo album of the sculpture’s stay in Palm Springs by posting photos on social media sites.  More than 1,000 people gathered at the statue to say their farewells, including actress Carol Channing, who portrayed Monroe’s character in “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes” on Broadway.forevermarilyn1

The 26-foot-high, 34,300-pound painted metal sculpture had been slated to stay in Palm Springs through June 2013, but its owner, Santa Monica-based Sculpture Foundation, granted a few extensions, according to P.S. Resorts, a nonprofit started by local hoteliers to promote Palm Springs tourism.

The sculpture is being taken to Hamilton, N.J., for an exhibition and gala honoring its creator, Seward Johnson, at a sculpture park called Grounds For Sculpture.

But before Marilyn Monroe could begin her 3,000-mile journey, she had to be taken apart.forevermarilyn3

Photos of the statue, which depicts Monroe in her famous subway grate pose from “The Seven Year Itch,” taken today show it completely disassembled, with Monroe’s head, torso and legs on different flatbed trucks.SONY DSC

The statue is scheduled to make several brief stops — often only for a few hours — in 10 major cities along the way, including Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Phoenix and Chicago, where “Forever Marilyn” was first placed in 2011.

The Sculpture Foundation, a nonprofit organization that oversees placement of Johnson’s artwork, has encouraged people who see the statue along the way to post photographs on Twitter and Instagram, using the hashtag #isawmarilyn.

“Forever Marilyn” is part of Johnson’s “Icons Revisited” series of sculptures, depicting famous images from the arts and pop culture in a larger-than-life fashion.

Also included in the Johnson exhibit will be a new oversized sculpture of former President Abraham Lincoln, entitled “Return Visit,” and “The Awakening,” Johnson’s 70-foot-wide sculpture of a giant embedded in the earth, currently on display at the National Harbor in Maryland.

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