When I was a little kid I would spend hours playing with water in the sink, or turning shampoo bottles upside down and watching the golden liquid bubble and fold inside the container. I loved some weird substance I got as a present called Magic Sand which allowed you to form strange constructions out of colored sand underwater. And at the beach I would spend all day at the edge between the water and the sand forming castles and drizzle buildings until the sun went down and my shoulders were hot with sunburn. When my parents asked me what I wanted to be when I "grew up", I would say with certainty, "A Fountain Maker." To which they chuckled and said there was no such thing. So I became other things instead.
Well, it turns out there are Fountainmakers out there. One I met in an Artist's Way course two years ago. And not only is he a cool maker of fountains, he also is the guy responsible for the beautiful fishnet holiday lights, as well as this fascinating project involving Native American Fishweirs.
I'll let you check out the site to learn more. But this kind of history always gets me. Who knew we had fishweirs right here in the Back Bay of Boston? To discover such an ancient activity amongst our concrete sidewalks just boggles the mind, let alone coming up with a way to make it alive again. And isn't this the best kind of thing to do with art -- connect with the past, connect with your own present, AND with your community in this beautiful and meaningful way? Throw in some kids and a curriculum and you've got something that I think is as real and true as it gets in terms of Art That Matters. So a big shout out to Ross Miller, confirmer of my childhood career fantasy and overall doer of mighty cool things. Thanks, Ross, for keeping me hopeful!
PS I did end up making a fountain last year using a water bubbler I bought at a pet supply store with a beautiful bowl and lots of rocks. Very fun if very small.