The Julie Penrose Fountain, an attraction in America the Beautiful Park
Bearing a size of a four-story building, and having a weight of 24 tons, the Julie Penrose Fountain, or simply Continuum, can be easily spotted in downtown Colorado Springs. Finding this piece of public art won’t be difficult as you walk in America the Beautiful Park.
The Julie Penrose Fountain is an impressive piece of a sculptural fountain that represents the life-giving movement of water between the earth and the atmosphere. It was dedicated at America the Beautiful Park on June 7, 2007. The fountain stands as an open loop of silvery-colored steel panels. These are outfitted with 366 water jets lining the fountain’s interior contours. A hidden turntable gives the fountain foundation that rotates every fifteen minutes, while the sculpture rises from a pool which has a delicate footprint for accommodating the water’s recirculation. Water flows inside the rotating sculpture and goes into the wading pools. Looking at it, the fountain appears to have the shape of a curving line on a substantial base. This shape is said to signify the formal interest of Bill Burgess with a number of linear elements. Burges is one of the two designers of Continuum who worked on the architectural design of the fountain. Its structural features were handled by architect David Barber.
The creation of Continuum – Julie Penrose Fountain was originally funded by the El Pomar Foundation, an organization founded by Spencer and Julie Penrose to help improve and promote the well being of Colorado’s residents. Based in Colorado Springs, El Pomar is one of the oldest private foundations in Rocky Mountain West. They are able to contribute $20 million annually to different nonprofit organizations that focus on health, education, human services, civic and community initiatives, arts and humanities. Continuum was a result of one of the foundation’s generous acts. The fountain was a substantial gift to the city of Colorado Springs and was created to advance Julie Penrose’s passion for culture and arts.
The fountain standing in the heart of the city could not be funded by Colorado Springs alone because of budgetary constraints at the time. It was a bit costly to be added in the city’s budget because aside from the cost of installing the fountain, maintenance expenses for water replacement were necessary. In addition to that, funds are needed for the fountain’s supplies and for ensuring its safety for public use; all of which are required to guarantee continuous operation.
Since the completion of the fountain, it has provided the children and adults of Colorado Springs a free and safe entertainment. It has served as an attraction in America the Beautiful Park in addition to the concerts and farmer’s markets during summer. Because of this function, an organization called Friends of Julie Penrose was set up. Their task is to engage the community in fundraising to ensure that Continuum would continue to amuse the park’s visitors in years to come.
Presently, Julie Penrose Fountain operates during summer, everyday from 10 am to 6 pm. During Wednesdays, fountain shows are held at 8 pm for Concerts in the park.