Blog Archives

Joy of the Waters

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Location:  Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 4525 Oak Street, Kansas City, MO

Found:  April 29, 2016

My friend Alexis alerted me to this small fountain inside Nelson-Atkins.  It is in the classroom section of the Nelson Atkins Building, which is off to the left, past the restrooms, as you enter from the Bloch Building.  Turn down the hall and go a little ways and you will see this room through a couple of doorways.  You might hear it (if it is running, see below) before you see it.  There are doors leading out into the East Sculpture Garden but, as you can see in the pictures, they are blocked off.  While it was once an entrance, it has been made into a small room for relaxing with a couple of benches in alcoves.

The sculpture is by Harriet Whitney Frishmuth and sits in the middle of a small basin.  It is of a nude woman standing on a small rock surrounded by small plants.  There are small jets of water coming out of the base.  The whole thing is not very big and it is very subdued.

I do not know how often this fountain runs.  Alexis has pictures of this fountain while it was off and has never seen it in operation before.  I went back a week after I took these pictures and the fountain was off.  Whether she is running or not, she is accessible for viewing.

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Elmer F. Pierson Sculpture Garden Fountain

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Location:  Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 4525 Oak Street, Kansas City, MO

Found:  May 6, 2016

This fountain is located in the East Sculpture Terrace on the south side of the Nelson-Atkins Building and was given to the museum by Elmer F. Pierson.  The water bubbles up in the upper-most level and runs and trickles down the various levels until it reaches the basin below.  The water coming up in the top looks no greater than a drinking fountain might put out.  As you can see in the pictures it sits underneath the branches of a tree and during the spring and summer sits mainly in the shade until late afternoon.  There are a few sculptures nearby.

This is an updated post.  The old post had only three pictures and I wanted to update it with more and better pictures.

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Noguchi’s Fountain

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Location:  Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, 4525 Oak Street, Kansas City, MO

Found:  February 18, 2016 (night photos) & May 6, 2016 (day photos)

In Noguchi Court at the south end of the Bloch Building sits this fountain.  Noguchi Court is the area with works by Isamu Noguchi.  It is outside the area where the museum houses its special exhibitions.

It consists of two sculpted basaltic stones, one with a concave top and one with a convex top.  Water seeps up through the hole in the top of each rock and runs down the sides into the rocks below.  It is tough to convey the movement of the fountain in still pictures as it just looks like pictures of wet rocks but it is actually pretty cool and also soothing.

I had an old post for this fountain that had just three pictures and I felt the need to update this post with more and better pictures.  I have also included pictures taken at night and the colours of the rock look they have changed without the glare of outdoors shining in on them.

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William Volker Memorial Fountain & Waterfall

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Location:  Theis Park, Volker Boulevard and Oak Street, Kansas City, MO

Found:  April 12, 2016

As part of the 2016 Fountain Day ceremony, the repaired and renovated William Volker Memorial Fountain was dedicated.  Not only is the fountain and the sculptures contained within repaired and renovated, the waterfall is now operational.

You can read my original post about the fountain here and use that post to compare and contrast the changes and renovations made to the fountain.

The waterfall had not run for many years.  It was originally designed to use water out of Brush Creek, which as many Kansas Citians know, is not the cleanest source of water.  Over the years, the silt and mud (and whatever else got sucked into the fountain) mucked up and clogged up the plumbing and filtration system faster than it could be cleaned out eventually rendering the waterfall inoperable.  But now, everything is fixed and working and it looks great.

The fountain up top also got repaired and renovated.  The basins were redone to replace cracking and leaking materials.  The bases for the sculptures were redone.  The sculptures were removed from the site and while gone were repaired and cleaned up and they made their return on April 7.  The water spouts and jets now shoot higher.

Everything looks great and as good as new now!

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2016 Fountain Day Ceremony

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Location:  Theis Park, Volker Boulevard and Oak Street, Kansas City, MO

Found:  April 12, 2016

April 12 was Fountain Day for Kansas City and all the city-maintained fountains were turned on today.  A ceremony to celebrate Fountain Day as well as to dedicate the repaired and renovated William Volker Memorial Fountain, with now-operating waterfall, was held in Theis Park across Brush Creek from the fountain and waterfall in the amphitheatre.

There was a pretty good turnout on a beautiful spring day that included local media, artists and Miss City of Fountains 2016 (I was not able to get a good shot of her, but that’s her in one of the pictures below with the sash and tiara).  Many food trucks were set up in the park to kick off the Feast of Fountains promotion this year.  A choir from St. Peter’s School kicked things off with a couple of songs.  Many thanks and acknowledgements were handed out as well as a telling of the history of the Volker Fountain and the man for which it is named.  The crowning moment of the ceremony was when Carl J. DiCapo and Miss City of Fountains pushed the plunger (referred to as the detonator by the emcee) and the Volker Fountain sprang to life followed a few seconds later by the waterfall.

Video of the turning on of fountains will be posted ASAP.

The first four pictures below are scans of the program that was handed out at the ceremony in case you were not able to make it.  Information about Feast of Fountains can be found on Page 4.

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William Volker Memorial Fountain

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Location:  Theis Park, Volker Boulevard and Oak Street, Kansas City, MO

Found:  April 20, 2014

Located at the south end of Theis Park along Brush Creek facing Volker Boulevard.  From this location, you can see the Nelson-Atkins Museum to the north along with two of the shuttlecocks.

The sculpture in the center is of St. Martin of Tours, a patron saint of France, on horseback about to share his coat with the beggar below.  Around the saint and the beggar are an angel sitting, a confused faun and a flying angel.  The artist who created the sculptures had a sense of humor as the seated angel is wearing a wristwatch and the flying angel is holding its flute backwards.

Behind the fountain is the Brush Creek Waterfall which is currently not running.  I am not sure if it is operable or not.  I could swear I read somewhere that it is needed repairs.  Should it get repairs and/or I find it running, I will remove those pictures from this page and create its own page.

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Winter is here…for the fountains anyway.

Well, for the fountains, winter has arrived even if the high temperatures (it got into the 60s today!) linger.  Fountains have been shut down all over the city.  That means that posts and pictures will have to wait until springtime now.  I did go to Nelson-Atkins over Thanksgiving weekend on Friday evening and took some night pictures of One Sun/34 Moons, even though the pool had been drained, and came to admire and hate the “night scene” function on my camera.

Once winter is here to stay, and the weather isn’t too bad when I have the opportunity, I may go out to the fountains that stay on during the winter and see what goes on with them.  If there is something worth taking a picture of, I definitely will.

Fountain Basin

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Location:  Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO

Found:  August 24, 2013

AKA A Soothed Mind, AKA Roselle Court Fountain

Located in the middle of Roselle Court in the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.  This is the “restaurant” area of the museum, although they do display art on the balcony area on the second floor, which is where I took the above picture from.  On my first visit to the museum, I just thought it was just a food court and did not realize there was anything of significance, art or fountain, in there and barely poked my head through the doorway.  After getting involved with the fountains, I discovered that there was indeed a fountain in here and made my first foray into this area of the museum on a return trip.

 The large bowl was carved from a single piece of marble and weighs about 4 tons.  It also dates back to around 200 AD.  The lion paws base was designed by the designers of the museum.  The 12 signs of the zodiac are arranged on the floor around the fountain.

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One Sun/34 Moons

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Location:  Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO

Found:  June 23, 2013

Not really a fountain, but it is listed with the City of Fountains Foundation, so here it is.  This is a large reflecting pool on the North side of the Nelson-Atkins museum.  The large yellow object is the sun.  Arranged around it are 34 “moons.”  Each moon is actually a skylight down into the parking garage below.  At night, the lights in the parking garage make the moons glow.  The picture above was taken from the steps of the museum to the south.  One of the shots below includes one of the museum’s iconic shuttlecocks in the background.  The last two shots are of the skylights from within the parking garage.

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November 29, 2013 – Went to Nelson-Atkins at night and took some pictures.

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