sculpture 2

The Town Council has approved the location for the Fountain of Light sculpture for the Avenue of the Fountains Plaza in front of Town Hall.

The vote at the Nov. 19 regular council session was 6-1, with Councilman Alan Magazine opposing.

The proposal for the sculpture siting was brought to the council in September, but the council postponed a decision until more could be learned about potential impact related to the planned International Dark Sky Discovery Center a short distance away.

Sculptor Brian Schader has agreed to reduce the height of the artwork from its original 50 feet by about five feet, so it is not taller than the Town Hall building, which would act as a shield from the Discovery Center.

Also, since September, the IDSDC committee has worked with Schrader to test the amount of light to be emitted from the sculpture.

IDSDC President Joe Bill sent a letter to the council stating it has been determined the sculpture at the Avenue location would not adversely impact the Discovery Center observatory.

“The light output from a small glass sample of the Fountain of Light sculpture was evaluated,” Bill said. “It was determined that with the lighting levels planned and the understanding that each glass section will be capped at the top, the light emittance would meet the requirements of the town’s outdoor lighting ordinance and minimize the light escaping from the top of each glass section.

“The above results have alleviated our primary concern of excessive light emittance,” Bill continued. “However, we recommend that provision be made to incorporate a dimmer switch in the plans in the event that once the large structure is completed, it turns out to be brighter than anticipated.

“Given the [results], both the IDSDC board and the Fountain Hills Dark Sky Association board have no objection to the proposed…sculpture.

“We applaud the work of the Public Art Committee that strives to enhance our community and we look forward to collaborating with them on future projects.”

Dori Wittrig of the Fountain Hills Civic and Cultural Association told the council the objective is to have the sculpture in place for the 50th anniversary of the Fountain in December 2020. She said 75 percent of the $150,000 funding goal has been achieved. She also noted that the funding effort is planning to include additional money for a contribution to the Public Art Fund as well as pay for the installation so there is no public money involved in the project.

Magazine, who is a member of the IDSDC board, said he objects to the size of the sculpture.

“This is totally out of scale with the rest of the public art on the Avenue,” Magazine said. “This is just five feet lower than Park Place.”