Ron Waterman poses for a photograph at the site of the removed Confederate Fountain in Hill Park.

Ron Waterman poses for a photograph at the site where the Confederate fountain stood in Hill Park. Waterman is currently in the process of funding a replacement monument. 

I am writing to the community to report on the status and progress of the Equity Fountain Project.

The committee’s Call to Artists resulted in our receiving qualifications from 35 artists from across the country and internationally for consideration to be finalists and to present a design for us to consider as the Equity Fountain.

The committee and I met on two occasions to review all of the submissions. During the first meeting we narrowed the artists under consideration from 35 down to 10. During the second meeting we selected four finalists to prepare a design. We have selected one Montanan, one woman, a Vietnamese national living in the US and a Spanish artist, consistent with our efforts to assure that as we move forward on this project that our selection process also is inclusive and equitable.

The committee is gathering signed Memorandums of Understanding and will shortly move a stipend to each selected artist. We are also in the process of answering detailed technical questions about the site and will be contacting the other artists thanking them for submitting their qualifications and advising of our selection decisions.

We have asked the four selected artists to present their designs for consideration by September 15, 2018. Currently we are planning an event at the Holter to showcase the four designs. This event will likely be supported by all the major arts organizations and open to the public. We plan on offering the public an opportunity to provide comment either at the event or through a Facebook site. We expect to have a final decision on design by the beginning of October, 2018 and to then present this to the City Commission later during that month or in November.

Fundraising is ongoing as a part of the campaign to construct this fountain. So far it has been a quiet campaign but it has seen some success in achieving pledges to support the budget of $100,000 for the cost of the fountain and its maintenance. A public fund-raising campaign to complete the funding for this project will occur following selection of the final design and acceptance of the gift by the City Commission. There are ongoing meetings with various civic organizations which have expressed an interest in this project and those meetings will continue throughout the summer.

Finally we have formed a partnership with the Montana Community Foundation so that individuals and entities gifting to this project can obtains tax credit for their donations and the Montana Community Foundation will have a connection on its website where donations can be made to support this project.

Public interest in this project remains high and positive and there appears to be broad spread community support for this project with considerable excitement about the final design and that fact that Helena will be enjoying a new fountain in Hill Park by the summer of 2019.

Ron Waterman of Helena is the chair of the Equity Fountain Project.

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