HELENA – A concrete base in Helena’s Hill Park has sat empty for more than a year, after city leaders removed the 100-year-old Confederate Memorial Fountain. Now, a community group seeking a replacement for the fountain is asking for the public’s input on four proposed designs.
The Equity Fountain Project, which includes artists, architects and other community members, officially unveiled the designs Thursday night, in an event at the Holter Museum of Art.
Ron Waterman, who has led the project, said they were looking for a new piece of public art that would fill the space and showcase the Helena community’s shared values.
“Those core values of equity and equality, of diversity, of tolerance, of service, of peace and justice – I think those are common core values that all of our citizens celebrate,” he said.
Waterman said 35 artists expressed interest in designing a replacement for the fountain. The committee chose four finalists: Meg White, Casto Solano, Jon Barlow Hudson and the team of Michael Stutz and James Dinh. Each finalist then created a proposed design.
“I think they’re an amazing group of very diverse images, of trying to find a way to express those values,” said Waterman.
The images will be on display at the Holter for about two weeks. Waterman is asking the public to weigh in with what they think of the designs.
“I think that it’s important for Helenans to come out and see these designs, to express what they like or don’t like, so that we have a sense of where the community is,” he said.
The committee will take public input into consideration when they choose a final design, though Waterman said it won’t be the only factor. They’ll then offer the piece to the city as a gift, possibly as soon as late October. It will be up to the Helena City Commission to decide whether to accept it for Hill Park.
The Equity Fountain Project is seeking to raise about $100,000 – $75,000 to pay for the new art piece and $25,000 to start a fund for future maintenance. Waterman said, so far, they’ve raised about $65,000.