Water flows in fountains, art arrives with spring

fountain dayThe first Royals baseball game is on the books and today a second spring marker spouted.

A crowd gathered to cheer at a Midtown ceremony for turning on of the city’s 48 fountains.

Streams of water erupted at The Eagle Scout tribute fountain after children held up papers counting down: 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.

The choice of that fountain at 39th Street and Gillham Road to symbolize a spring rebirth may be appropriate.

Officials noted that Kansas City’s John Starr was critical in getting the sculpture for the fountain that was dedicated in 1968.

The sculpture originally flanked a clock at an entrance to New York’s famous – and infamously demolished – Pennsylvania Station.

The giant station that opened in 1910 was demolished in 1963. It was considered a masterpiece of Beaux-Arts style, like Kansas City’s Union Station.

Charles Cassias Jr., president of the City of Fountains Foundation, today praised Starr’s work is getting the sculpture and thanked his family for continuing to help with the fountain.

Cassias said that since starting a drive last year to raise about $2.7 million to repair eight fountains, the group has raised about half the money.

It has also added a ninth fountain to the list, he said, the Firefighter memorial fountain at Penn Valley Park.

“I implore all of you to get out in the community and help us raise all the money we need,” he said.

The city is known for its fountains and they define a community as “one that embraces beauty, inspiration and delight,” he said. “They give us places to contemplate and reflect and define our neighborhoods.”

That eagle scout fountain sculpture survived to carry much history with its art and much to reflect about.

The demolition of Penn Station prompted New York’s first architectural preservation laws, fed an architectural preservation movement nationwide and maybe contributed to saving Union Station in Kansas City.

The women flanking the sculpture represent night and day. They are based on model Audrey Munson, who modeled for many New York statues and was the first woman to appear fully nude in a mainstream movie.

But hers is another story, and like Penn Station, it ended in tragedy.

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