HELENA, Mont. (CBS Local) — A new water fountain representing compassion and equality was installed Monday in a Montana park where a Confederate monument stood for 100 years.
The Equity Fountain fills the empty space in Helena’s Hill Park, left after city leaders removed a fountain memorializing Confederate soldiers in August 2017. The decision to remove the fountain came in response to a nationwide push to remove Confederate monuments in the wake of violence during a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.
A group protested the removal, saying the fountain represented history rather than racism. But others, including the state legislator’s Native American Caucus, called for it to come down, the Independent Record reported.
New Equity Fountain installed in Helena's Hill Park https://t.co/CZ6yNEDEFk
— KXLH – Helena (@KXLH) April 28, 2020
The new fountain, called the “Sphere of Interconnectedness,” is based on a design by California artists James Dinh and Michael Stutz.
It consists of two large parts: a 4,500-pound millstone crafted in Maine and a four-foot stainless steel sphere fabricated in California, engraved with words like “equity,” “respect,” “generosity,” “peace,” “diversity” and “tolerance” in English and tribal languages.
“It just goes back to the celebration of how connected we are and interconnected we are,” Ron Waterman, who chairs the Equity Fountain Project, told CBS affiliate KXLH.
The project’s goal was to raise $110,000 through private investors, the Independent Record reported in 2019. The Montana Community Foundation continues to collect donations for the project at mtcf.org.
Waterman said the city plans to hold an official unveiling ceremony of the fountain once restrictions related to the coronavirus emergency are lifted.