Despite a national outcry over funding art while laying off firefighters, City Council voted 8-3 in November to proceed with a $742,000 sculpture fountain in front of the new police-courts building. But two additional interior wall pieces, also designed by artist Herbert Dreiseitl of Ueberlingen, Germany, have quietly been dropped–Margaret Parker, chair of the Ann Arbor Public Art Commission, says they fell victim to rising costs compounded by architectural, aesthetic, and materials changes. Dreiseitl originally suggested Corten steel for the fountain, but fabricating it to his specifications would cost $90,000 more than if the fountain were made of bronze, says project manager Kenneth Clein of Quinn Evans Architects. So bronze it will be.
Dreiseitl’s niche is artistically repurposed runoff. Rainwater that falls on the site will be stored in a cistern under a plaza facing Huron Street. Some will irrigate a water garden, while the rest–treated to meet health code requirements–will cascade down Dreiseitl’s sixteen-foot-high bronze monolith into a small reflecting pool. Potentially mitigating the uproar over employing a German artist, the contractors chosen to complete the work are all Michigan-based.
Clein says the police-courts building will open in January. As for dabbling your feet in the fountain–you’ll have to wait until June.