Saturday, February 22, 2014

Fountain Facelift

I did this sketch in 2011 when the Lake Eola Fountain was being repaired. Lightning had struck the fountain, melting glass and killing the motor that pumped the water. As the fountain was being repaired, yellow floats surrounded it and docking bumpers were in place for the boat that went out to do the repairs. The overhaul cost $1.6 million dollars. It's the most expensive update in the fountain's history. After the lightning strike, the city received about $300,000 from a private insurer, but the company refused to pay the full cost of repairs because the fountain was in such poor shape before the storm.

Mayor Buddy Dyer insisted on the repairs since he considers the fountain an Orlando Icon. Most of the money for the renovation , about $1.2 million came from the city's own self-insurance fund. A downtown taxing district provided about $54,000, and private donations added the remaining $32,716. Public Works Director Alan Oyler said the fountain's electric bill will show big savings from new energy-efficient pumps and LED lights instead of incandescent bulbs.

Music is piped into the park at night thanks to speakers added to light poles. The music is synchronized  to the fountain's water display giving a Las Vegas style water show. Some of the sculptures added to the park add to the Vegas and Disney flavored camp that marks Orlando as a tourist destination rather than a cultural hub. I walk around the lake every time I do a sketch downtown and though I'm jaded, I still might hum a tune if the mood strikes me.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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