Walnut Creek Loses Its Head, Temporarily

Celebrated North Main Street sculpture removed because of 'blushing,' a fading of fibers in the finish. It is being resealed.

One of the mysterious highlights of Walnut Creek's summer has been the installation in June of

Adults — and especially toddlers — have been attracted (some repelled) by the mysterious head with closed eyes, half-submerged in a fountain pool in front of the Mechanics Bank. Some say it looks like Buddha. Children gingerly approach to touch the head and play in the gentle stream of water coursing out of its crown. Many Lamorindans have made the pilgrimage to North Main to see what all the fuss is about.

Now they'll all do a double take because it's gone. The fountain pool is headless, temporarily, and looks lonely. It was loaded on a truck Tuesday and taken away to the artist's studio.

The sculpture by Seyed Alavi was removed to have new sealant applied, according to a statement released by Barry Gordon, Walnut Creek's director of arts, recreation and community services. The gold color has been fading from contact with the water. The restoration is expected to be complete by the end of next week.

Patch reader John N commented: "Maybe they are going to put it in the same warehouse that the 'lost ark' is in  :)   Wouldn't that be cool. I don't care who paid for it, it was a waste of money."

From Gordon's statement:

The art in the fountain in front of Mechanics Bank on North Main Street was removed today to have a new sealant applied to the finish.

Shortly after the installation of Seyed Alavi’s “Fountain Head”, the gold surface color of the fiberglass sculpture began to fade from contact with the water. When the water flow shut down every night, the color returned. After discussion and research by the artist, fabricator Academy Studios and City staff, it was determined that water was wicking into fibers in the Gelcoat finish causing “blushing,” which clouded the color.   

A new product was identified and applied to a test piece made of the same material and painted the same color. The test was successful and the test piece showed no discoloration from the water. Once back in the studio, the art will sit to allow full drying, and when dry the new material will be applied and allowed to cure.

There will be no cost to the artist or the City to rectify the blushing. Academy Studios will refinish the piece at their expense. We anticipate “Fountain Head” will be reinstalled by the end of next week. 
And, by the way, a July poll for the funniest remark about the sculpture remains active, and the two top choices are just two votes apart.

William H. Thompson August 23, 2012 at 06:54 PM
We here in Walnut Creek will all enjoy the "headless" fountain until the golden creature returns from its makeover.


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