Tucson's Public Art
El Presidio Fountain

Title: El Presidio Fountain, by Charles Clement and Michael Lugo (1970)

Location: 255 West Alameda Avenue in the center of El Presidio Park

Details: Cast concrete with tile work.

She Said:

Fountains present in a vital way the fusion of art and life, life in the form of moving, flowing water. El Presidio Fountain is an oasis in the urban setting  of downtown Tucson, and serves as the focal point of the park. The mosaic tile works add notes of color to the cast concrete, but water is the real centerpiece of this art installation, bubbling and splashing and cooling the air around the fountain. I like this piece not just because I like fountains in general, but also because of its location in the downtown area, and the colorful tile work included in its design.

He Said:

Situated directly behind the mosiac-domed courthouse, El Presidio Park has quite a number of statuary and art pieces, and right in the center is this fountain. In Tucson, we are constantly aware that water is life, and placing this huge fountain in El Presidio Park is most appropriate. Here is where the city of Tucson's life began, it proclaims. And, indeed, that is correct. The original Presidio of Tucson was on this very spot. Ninety feet or so east of the fountain you can see the line demarcating the wall of the tiny community that grew to become Tucson.

It also proclaims more: some of the stylized designs remind me of Native American symbols. These, fused into the modernistic concrete, remind me that Tucson does have a rich and varied history, much of it occuring long before the beginnings of the tiny outpost known as El Presidio de Tucson.

Copyright © 2004 S. Halversen. All rights reserved.