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Heads Up: Downtown Sculpture Returns

'Fountain Head,' the controversial tourist attraction, returns to its pool on North Main Street, Walnut Creek.

These are heady times in downtown Walnut Creek: A downtown tourist attraction has been repaired and returned to its pool on North Main Street.

That's 'Fountain Head,' by Seyed Alavi, the love-it-or-hate-it bald head rising out of a fountain pool in front of Mechanics Bank, at the corner of North Main and Duncan streets.

"It's one of the most photographed spots in the city," said Mayor Bob Simmons. "That's what you want public art to be." Simmons sometimes leads public art walking tours of Walnut Creek.

The same week that Fountain Head was restored, coincidentally, the City Council had on its agenda a review of Walnut Creek's Public Art Master Plan. The council unanimously approved the plan Tuesday night. (Fountain Head was returned to its pool Thursday, Sept. 13.)

Simmons suggested that before a public art work program is finalized by the city's Arts Commission, there be a joint meeting of the commission and City Council representatives to share ideas.
 
In developing the work plan, city staff plans to survey 38 California cities about their public art programs, said Barry Gordon, director of arts, recreation and community service for the city.

Council member Kristina Lawson marveled at the grown men she had seen taking pictures of themselves in front of 'Fountain Head.' "My kids ask to see that fountain when we come downtown," Lawson said. "We're doing a great job," she added, encouraging the city's arts, rec and community service staff to "continue to be creative."

Melissa Benson commented on Walnut Creek Patch's Facebook page that her son Aidan cracks himself up by tossing pennies and watching them bounce off Fountain Head.

The attraction was decapitated out of the pool in August and went into the shop (OK, studio) to be resealed so the gold color wouldn't fade from the water coursing down all sides of the fiberglass head. The water bubbles down from a fountain at the crown of the head, a feature that charms some art-lovers on North Main Street.

Patch Poll on Fountain Head

In July, Patch took some readers' comments and did a poll on which one was funniest. The poll is still active and two comments are tied with 32 comments each:

  • Maybe the bank is showing that most of the people are almost underwater....? We'll have to check back on this... In a few months maybe only the very top of his head will be showing....... lol
  • Pull that baby out of there and give it mouth to mouth so it can be revived and move to another location...ITS CREEPY — Christopher Deflippo

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Paula Miller September 20, 2012 at 03:25 AM
Hooray! He returned to amuse us all.
Triple Canopy September 20, 2012 at 03:55 AM
'musta came back from Hawaii cuz the head has a helluva tan!
michael frederick September 20, 2012 at 05:50 AM
I think it would be really cool to get together with local kids to produce FRP hats for Fountain Head to suit various occassions -- A's or Giants as they progress in playoffs, some kind of walnut helmet for Walnut Festival, party hat for Main St wine tasting events, sombrero for Cinco de Mayo, ... Have the kids design something and go through the city review process. It would be nice for our kids to participate in downtown and learn about city review, mold making, mold process, FRP, coatings, etc. Hopefully, they've already learned that if you apply <10 mils of gelcoat to fiberglass and stick it in water, you get fiber bloom...
Julie Jepsen-Grant September 20, 2012 at 04:11 PM
It's King Walnut when he was 18! King Walnut has wrinkles now. :-)
WC-Independent September 20, 2012 at 07:42 PM
michael, Excellent post. I love the idea. Stuff like this makes a community buzz. This would be so cool. Abe Lincoln hat for presidents day!
Bob Brittain September 20, 2012 at 08:13 PM
The Abe Lincoln hat could be worn by the Fountain Head when the national exhibit Lincoln and the Civil War arrives in the Walnut Creek Library on December 14th.
Lance Howland (Editor) September 20, 2012 at 08:38 PM
Michael, Bob: I'm charmed by the hat ideas. I just plugged them over on WC Patch Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/WalnutCreekPatch, and I bet we'll have some comments there. Astro helmet when Endeavour passes over tomorrow? -- Lance Howland, editor, Walnut Creek Patch.
Amy H September 20, 2012 at 11:00 PM
Glad it's back!!! I look forward to seeing it each time I am downtown! It is peaceful.

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