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Background and Status Report

Fountain of the Pioneers


Bronson Park Master Plan
Bronson Park 21st Century Capital Campaign

November 20, 2017

The following is information pertaining to the current status of the Bronson Park 21st Century Capital
Campaign, the development of the Bronson Park Master Plan, the status of the Fountain of the
Pioneers, and other related topics. This report was prepared by staff from the City Managers Office,
Parks & Recreation Department and the Community Planning & Development Department.

I. History of the Fountain of the Pioneers


II. Fountain of the Pioneers Issues Resolution Group (2006 - 2013)
III. Public Education Committee (2013 - present)
IV. Bronson Park Master Plan (2015-2016)
V. National Register Designation for the Fountain of the Pioneers (2016)
VI. Bronson Park 21st Century Capital Campaign (2016 present)
VII. Bronson Park Ownership: Kalamazoo County
VIII. Statement from Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians (Gun Lake Tribe)
IX. Statement from Kalamazoo County Public Art Commission
X. Statement from City of Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Commission
Attachments

I. History of the Fountain of the Pioneers


Below is a brief history of the Fountain as found on the Kalamazoo Public Librarys Local History site
(www.kpl.gov/local-history/parks/fountain.aspx):

For most of Kalamazoos lifetime, Bronson Park has graced the center of the city. Four
successive fountains have helped make it a pleasant oasis amid the surrounding
commercial din. The third, built with money left by Duncan McColl, was the only
automatic fountain in the United States when it was completed in 1927. With its
tumbling jets of water illuminated by colored lights, townspeople judged it a pretty sight
in the evenings, but its daytime presence was unkindly described as silo-esque. Within
a decade, Edward Rutz, who was then city manager, took the matter of the graceless
fountain up with the Kalamazoo Business and Professional Womens Club. The civic-
minded women, with a vision of a more beautiful city, sponsored a contest for a design
that would make use of the equipment from the McColl fountain and of the Depression-
generated unemployed labor. The $250 first prize was won by Marcelline Gougler, a
University of Illinois art instructor who had studied under well-known sculptor Alfonso
Iannelli.

When Gouglers design was judged to have mechanical problems, Iannelli, a native of
Italy and sometimes collaborator with Frank Lloyd Wright and other architects, was
called in to consult. He designed a completely new fountain. Lydia Siedschlag, who had

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also been a student of his and who was then the head of the Art Department at what is
now Western Michigan University, provided Iannelli with some information about
Kalamazoo, particularly about the Indians from the area.

After some public input and revision, the fountain was constructed in 1939 and
dedicated on 6 June 1940. The city contributed $7,500 to the cost, the remaining
amount, approximately $30,000, came from depression-era Works Projects
Administration (WPA) funds. New lawns, gardens and pathways were added to
harmonize with the design.

Upgrades and repairs to the fountain complex and the park areas around it have been made several
times:
1972 Kalamazoo City Commission authorizes $12,000 repairs to the electrical system
1976 In the west pool, sculptures of children by Kirk Newman Where Justice and Mercy
Prevail Children May Safely Play funded by Bronson park churches to celebrate the US
Bicentennial.
1977 County Commission invests $47,500 in repairs
1979 County receives $200,000 Federal grant for work on park and fountain
1990 Kalamazoo Gazette donates $25,000 for trees, also shelves and cascades were repaired
using City funds
1999 City spends $500,000 upgrading sidewalks, benches, trash receptacles, lighting and
electrical (No work on fountain or pools)
2002 west pool re-lined, concrete coping repaired with help from a state DNR grant

II. Fountain of the Pioneers Issues Resolution Group (2006 - 2013)

In late 2005 more than 500 petition signatures were delivered to the Kalamazoo City Commission calling
for the Fountains removal stating it represented racism and white supremacy. Shortly thereafter, a
similar number of petition signatures were delivered to the City Commission requesting that the
Fountain not be removed as it represented a significant piece of public art and history.

In response to this public disagreement about the future of the Fountain of the Pioneers, an Issues
Resolution Committee was established in 2006 by the City and included a diverse group of individuals
and viewpoints, including members of the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians
(Gun Lake Tribe).

Members of the group included:


Kalamazoo City Vice-Mayor (and eventually Mayor)
Kalamazoo City Commissioner
Kalamazoo City Manager
Kalamazoo County Deputy Administrator
Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians (3)
Chamber of Commerce (2)
Historic Preservation Commission representative
YWCA representative
Citizens (2)

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The following is verbatim from the groups PURPOSE STATEMENT.

Fountain of the Pioneers Issues Resolution Group


PURPOSE STATEMENT
(2007)
The Purpose of the Fountain of the Pioneers Issue Resolution Group (Group) is to study,
discuss, and recommend an approach to address the communities concerns regarding
the Fountain of the Pioneers (Fountain) to the appropriate governmental units
(Kalamazoo County, City of Kalamazoo, and Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of
Pottawatomi Indians of Michigan - (Gun Lake Tribe (Tribe)).

The Groups goals are to: address historical inaccuracies integral to the Fountain,
reconcile past injustices, educate current and future generations, and facilitate
community-wide healing.

While the Fountain is a public sculpture, regardless of the artists intent, the Groups
objectives are to:

Present an equally compelling and historically accurate portrayal of the


injustices the Tribe experienced as a result of:
o Its confinement within its aboriginal homeland, and
o Its subsequent removal from its Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish
(Kalamazoo) reservation
Provide the community with a sensitive and truthful depiction that honors and
acknowledges the Tribes past and present contributions to and future vision for
the Kalamazoo area.

The Purpose Statement was presented to, and endorsed by the Kalamazoo City Commission on April 30,
2007, and by the Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners on May 1, 2007.

The purpose of the group was to discuss varying opinions about the Fountain of the Pioneers and to try
to reach a consensus and resolution to the claims that the Fountain was inappropriate for Bronson
Park. The committee resolved that regardless of the artists intentions, the Fountain Complex should be
preserved in Bronson Park, but that it should be accompanied by an historically accurate and equally
compelling presentation that conveyed a number of concepts relating to the original territory of the
Gun Lake band; the enforced treaties and reservation boundaries the band was forced to accept; the
failure of various governmental agencies to honor those treaties; the enforced westward removal of the
Native American groups; and the resistance and subsequent flourishing of the Gun Lake Band.

By 2013 the Group proposed conducting a national Call for Artists to design and construct a new piece of
art for Bronson Park that would appropriately translate the Groups goals into reality. Working with the
Tribe and the Kalamazoo Arts Council, it was eventually decided that a separate piece of art in Bronson
Park would not adequately address the Groups goals. Also at this time the Group ceased meeting, but
the work was carried on by a newly formed Public Education Committee.

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III. Public Education Committee (2013 - present)

In 2013 a Public Education Committee was organized for the restoration and interpretation of the
Fountain of the Pioneers and to assist the Match-E-Ne-Nash-She-Wish Band to create an equally
compelling, historically accurate public project. The Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Commission and
the Tribe lead a Public Education Committee developing such public education presentations rather than
commissioning new artwork. Other representatives on the Committee included individuals from the
Kalamazoo County Public Art Commission, the Western Michigan University Public History program and
School of Social Work, the Kalamazoo Valley Museum, the YMCA, and the Kalamazoo College Arcus
Center for Social Justice Leadership, as well as individuals and foundations with a commitment for social
inclusion.

The Public Education Committee and the Tribe plan to install physical markers and iconic graphics in
Bronson Park and at the corners and at major modern street intersections marking the original 1821-
1827 Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Reservation. In addition to text, the markers offer visitors a digital link
to streaming audio and graphic images and information at NextExitHistory.com The Gun Lake Band has
stated that the presentations they created will fully incorporate the principles proposed by that 2007
Conflict Resolution Committee. The presentations and additional programming will be incorporated into
virtual exhibits and archived on the Kalamazoo Valley Museum digital gateway and the City of
Kalamazoo website.

The Public Education Committees plan is found in Attachment A and is summarized below:

1. Mark the four corners of the original 1821-1827 Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Reservation with
sculptures designed by Pokagon Band artist and tribally owned Seven Generations Architecture
& Engineering company

2. Record content for free NextExitHistory app for Reservation boundary corners featuring text and
video of Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish speakers (funded by Michigan Humanities Council and
based on letter of support from the Tribe and from the Arcus Center for Social Justice)

3. Mark Reservation boundaries with street signs

4. Place two of the boundary markers on school property, and develop teaching units in
collaboration with KPS

5. Reach out to community through educational programs to stakeholders, boundary corner


property owners, civic organizations, Art Hop and First Night audiences, and the general public

6. Implement evaluations

7. Develop educational materials in Bronson Park regarding the Fountain of the Pioneers and the
boundary art in the surrounding community.

Work is currently underway to raise funds and to implement all of the above tasks.

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IV. Bronson Park Master Plan (2015-2016)

Using a $55,000 grant from the Irving S. Gilmore Foundation, the Citys Parks & Recreation Department
led a planning effort in 2015 to create a new master plan for Bronson Park. A planning committee made
of up community representatives, as well as members of the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of
Pottawatomi Indians (Gun Lake Tribe), worked with a local consultant to develop the plan. The planning
process included multiple opportunities for public outreach and public input.

The final Bronson Park Master Plan had three major categories:
1. Improvements and enhancements to the overall park (e.g., benches, lighting, landscaping, etc.)
2. Restoration of the Fountain of the Pioneers and the two reflecting pools
3. Community education regarding the parks history, the Fountain of the Pioneers, and the history
of the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians.

The Citys Parks and Recreation Advisory Board (PRAB) approved the Bronson Park Master Plan at their
meeting on January 5, 2016. The City Commission unanimously approved the Bronson Park Master Plan
on March 7, 2016.

A summary of the plan is shown in Attachment B. The complete 96-page Bronson Park Master plan can
be found at:
www.kalamazoocity.org/docman/bronson-park/444-bronson-park-master-plan-full/file

V. National Register Designation for the Fountain of the Pioneers (2016)

In 2016 the Fountain of the Pioneers was listed on the National Register of Historic Places at the national
level of significance for public art. Below is a partial description of the historical significance of the
Fountain of the Pioneers as a work of public art, as described by the National Park Service:

The Fountain of the Pioneers complex in Bronson Park is nationally significant under
Criterion C as a rare, if not the only, complex work of skillful public outdoor design and
sculpture whose components combine stylistic, theoretic and thematic elements of
America's Prairie School, Modernist, Art Deco and Cultural Nationalism movements....

The complete documentation for the National Register for Historic Places designation for the Fountain
of the Pioneers can be found at: www.nps.gov/nr/feature/places/16000417.htm
and www.nps.gov/nr/feature/places/pdfs/16000417.pdf

VI. Bronson Park 21st Century Capital Campaign (2016 present)

To implement the Bronson Park Master Plan, the Bronson Park 21st Century Capital Campaign was
started in late-2015 with a goal of raising approximately $2.8 million. As of November 7, 2017, the
Capital Campaign has raised approximately $2.1 million, with hundreds of volunteers helping to support
the Bronson Park Master Plan and Capital Campaign in a variety of ways. A detailed breakdown of
campaign contributions, including those donations intended solely for the Fountain of the Pioneers, is
included below.

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Attachment C has a complete breakdown of the fundraising budget and funds raised.

Fundraising Status
Approximately $2.1 million has been raised to date. Most of the funds have been given for the overall
master plan improvements (e.g., park, fountain and education). However, some funds have been given
specifically for the purpose of repairing the fountain. Of the funds raised so far, $515,000 has been
donated specifically for fountain repairs, meaning these funds cannot be used for other improvements
in the park (other gifts can be used for the entire park plan, including the fountain repairs)

Gifts specifically for the Fountain of the Pioneers repairs


Grants: 5 grants contribute $153,000 to the $515,000 that is dedicated to the fountain.

Individuals: 18 of the 254 individual gifts were specified for the fountain, totaling $25,500 of the
$312,000 in individual giving.

Businesses: 3 of 38 corporate gifts were specified for the fountain, totaling $4,500 of the $42,000 in
corporate giving.

Foundations: 8 of 39 foundation gifts were specified for the fountain, totaling $332,000 of the $606,000
in foundation giving.

Fundraising Timeline
2005 Historic Preservation Commission begins process to raise funds to repair the
deteriorating Fountain of the Pioneers. Citizen comments raised questions on the message of
the fountain and suggest removal of the fountain from Bronson Park.
2006 A condition assessment was completed in the summer of 2006 by Nehil Sivak Engineers
(funded by National Trust for Historic Preservation) including coring samples of the concrete,
plumbing assessment and a plan for a winter cover.
2011-2012 The City spent $40,000 for comprehensive condition assessment of fountain and
pools and to prepare plans/specifications for repair, in part to determine funds needed to do
work. Public meetings held in August 2011 gathered input from residents and March 2012 to
present the final plans.
2012-2013 Fundraising feasibility study funded by National Trust and Stucki Foundation grants
finds that a great majority of survey participants considered Bronson Park an integral part of
Kalamazoo and the fountain complex an important part of the park.
2013 Fundraising to repair the fountain receives the first grant award for $83,000 from the
Jeffris Family Foundation in the form of a 2 for 1 challenge grant. At the end of 2013 a $100,000
grant from Jon Stryker and in early 2014 a $50,000 grant from the Jim Gilmore Foundation and a
$25,000 budget item from the City matches the Jeffris challenge grant.
2014 Fundraising goal set at $1.5 million. Irving S. Gilmore Foundation awards $55,000 to
produce a new master plan for Bronson Park. Fundraising for the fountain is put on hold.
2016 Bronson Park Master Plan completed and approved by the City Commission. New
fundraising goal is $2.8 million. Fundraising restarts.
2017 as of November, 2017, fundraising for the Bronson Park Master plan and improvements
has reached approximately $2.1 million.

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2017, October & November as a result of the public comments received and the City
Commissioners comments and request for more information at the October 16, 2017
Commission meeting, additional fundraising efforts have been paused.

VII. Bronson Park Ownership: Kalamazoo County


An historical anomaly about Bronson Park is that it is actually owned by Kalamazoo County, but since the
1800s it has been operated and maintained by the City of Kalamazoo through a series of leases. This is
due to the fact that Titus Bronson donated the land to Kalamazoo County, prior to there being an actual
City of Kalamazoo.

Although the City operates and maintains Bronson Park as a City park, County representatives have been
invited to participate in previous discussions and committees concerning the park. If the Kalamazoo City
Commission wishes to alter the Fountain of the Pioneers, it would be consistent with past practices to
involve the County in that decision-making process prior to a final decision.

VIII. Statement from Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians (Gun Lake Tribe)
Representatives from the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians (Gun Lake Tribe)
have participated in the Issues Resolution Group, the steering committee for the development of the
Bronson Park Master Plan, and current Public Education Committee. The Tribe provided a
communication to the City Commission reiterating their position on the matters relating to Bronson
Park. A copy is attached as Attachment D to this report.

IX. Statement from Kalamazoo County Public Art Commission


The Kalamazoo County Public Art Commission exists to promote public art throughout Kalamazoo
County and was created as a joint commission by Kalamazoo County and the cities of Kalamazoo and
Portage. The Commissions statement regarding the Fountain of the Pioneers is attached as Attachment
E to this report.

X. Statement from City of Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Commission


The City of Kalamazoos Historic Preservation Commission is a City Commission-appointed advisory
board whose function is to advise and educate the City Commission, City Administration, and the public
on matters pertaining to historic preservation. The HPCs correspondence regarding the Fountain of the
Pioneers is attached as Attachment F to this report.

Report prepared by:


Jeff Chamberlain, AICP, Deputy City Manager
Sean Fletcher, Director, Parks & Recreation Department
Sharon Ferraro, Historic Preservation Coordinator
Steven Brown, Foundation for Excellence Coordinator and Resource Specialist

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Attachment A:
Public Education Committee Plan
September 29, 2017
Public Education Committee
Bronson Park

SUMMARY
In 2005, in response to community concerns about the imagery of the Fountain of the Pioneers (FOTP) in Bronson
Park, the City convened an Issues Resolution Committee. The Committee, composed of Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish
Band of Pottawatomi Indian representatives as well as participants from the City and County, YWCA, Public Art
and Historic Preservation commissions, private citizens, corporations and and others, considered many options.
During years of deliberation, consultation, and examination of possible outcomes, the committee resolved that the
FOTP is to be maintained as a public sculpture. However, there needs to be an accurate and equally compelling
presentation of the loss of Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish lands in the area now called Kalamazoo, the forced removal
and death of many tribe members in the 1800s, and the story of survival and success of the tribe and its role in our
community today. The Issues Resolution Committee resolved that the city should reconcile past injustices, and
educate current and future generations and so facilitate community-wide healing.

PARTICIPANTS
Twenty-four individuals serve on the Public Education Steering Committee and/or on various
subcommittees. Four Steering Committee members are American Indians. Committee members bring
expertise in art, education, public history, American Indian history, diversity, management and finance,
manufacturing and design, exhibitions/curation/public engagement, and social justice. Graduate student
participants have been involved in various levels of research.

BUILDING A PLAN
The Bronson Park Public Education Committee was established to plan and implement a meaningful
strategy to build knowledge, awareness, and understanding of the history of American Indians in our
region. The committee began by assessing opportunities to bring this history to the largest audiences
possible appealing to a variety of learning styles and interests; and to promoting understanding of how
our past is connected to our present. All of this was coordinated first through the Bronson Park Planning
process, and always in consultation and with the approval of Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of
Pottawatomi and other local tribal representatives.

THE PLAN
Develop multi-faceted educational initiatives including:

1. Mark the four Reservation corners with sculptures designed by Pokagon Band artist and tribally
owned Seven Generations Architecture & Engineering company

2. Record content for free NextExitHistory app for Reservation boundary corners featuring text and
video of Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish speakers (funded by Michigan Humanities Council and
based on letter of support from the Tribe and from the Arcus Center for Social Justice )

3. Mark Reservation boundaries with street signs


4. Place two of the boundary markers on school property, and develop teaching units in
collaboration with KPS

5. Reach out to community through educational programs to stakeholders, Boundary corner property
owners, civic organizations, Art Hop and First Night audiences, and the general public

6. Implement evaluations

7. Develop educational materials in Bronson Park regarding the FOTP and the Boundary art in the
surrounding community

PROGRESS

1. Sculptures/boundary corners: design approved by Tribal Council; engineering plans prepared, and
value-engineering in progress; land-use agreements in progress at all four locations (county, two
public schools, one private owner)

2. NextExhitHistory.com: text and still images activated in Fall 2016, videos of tribal participants
activated end of May 2017, updates and improvements on-going

3. Street signs: approved by Tribal Council and City; and under construction

4. Teaching units: collaboration approved by KPS; development of units in progress

5. Outreach: formal presentation and updates to Tribal Council, and programs for boundary corner
property owners, Kalamazoo Rotary, neighborhood association (scheduled), First Night (175 people
spent part of New Years Eve at one of the two presentations); and fliers printed and distributed
during Art Hops and Hidden Kalamazoo events

6. Evaluations: required program and planning evaluations were submitted to the Michigan Humanities
Council at the end of May 2017, and public evaluations are now online continuing to gain information

7. Educational materials in Bronson Park: Currently testing variety of presentations to determine most
effective and meaningful way to communicate on Park kiosks, and related websites how the stories of
the American Indians and FOTP intersect.

bhb: 9/29/17
Attachment B:
Bronson Park Master Plan Summary
Attachment C:
Fundraising Budget & Summary
Bronson Park Master Plan Budget and Fundraising Summary
10/31/2017

These numbers have been rounded.

Total Master Plan Budget $2,870,000


a. Fountain Restoration $1,250,000
b. Parks Improvements $1,150,000
c. Arch. & Engineering $220,000
d. Endowment $200,000
e. Education $50,000

Money that has been pledged or awarded to the entire project to-date
a. Donation Pledges $819,000
b. Grants $1,245,000
c. Total $2,064,000
d. $515,000 of the total $2,042,000 is designated for Fountain restoration.

Funding Sources breakdown


Grants: 5 grants contribute $153,000 to the $515,000 that is dedicated to the
fountain. (13 other grants have been awarded for Master Plan items other than the
fountain, totaling over $1-Million.)

Individuals: 18 of the 254 individual gifts were specified for the fountain, totaling
$25,500 of the $312,000 in individual giving.

Businesses: 3 of 38 corporate gifts were specified for the fountain, totaling $4,500
of the $42,000 in corporate giving.

Foundations: 8 of 39 foundation gifts were specified for the fountain, totaling


$332,000 of the $606,000 in foundation giving.

Outstanding Pledges by year


2016 $17,830
2017 $124,950
2018 $508,950
2019 $95,975
2020 $16,500
2021 $4,000
2022 $4,000

1 of the 6 grants that are currently pending a decision is specified for the fountain,
totaling $100,000 of the $460,000 in potential funds.
Attachment D:
Communication from the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish
Band of Pottawatomi Indians (Gun Lake Tribe)
October 11, 2017

Honorable Bobby J. Hopewell, Mayor


City of Kalamazoo
241 W. South Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49007

Re: Tribes Official Position on the Iannelli Sculpture

Dear Mayor Hopewell:

I am writing to express the sincere desire of the Match-E-Be-Nash-She-Wish Band of Pottawatomi Indians
(Gun Lake Tribe) to continue to work closely with the City of Kalamazoo on all matters, including those related
to the Iannelli sculpture at Bronson Park.

As you know, our tribal citizens have contributed in various ways to the development of plans to present a
historically accurate depiction of our Tribe and its ancestors to residents and visitors of Kalamazoo. The Tribe
appreciates the collaboration with City officials and civic leaders on these plans to improve historic elements of
Bronson Park and the City as a whole.

We support the concept of enhancements to Bronson Park and other public areas to educate the public about the
historic facts and timeline of the Tribe. That includes our story of perseverance in remaining here in our
homelands, and ultimately becoming a modern-day tribal government.

As such, the Tribe is governed by our constitution, and the laws and ordinances enacted by the popularly-
elected, seven-member Tribal Council. Pursuant to our tribal constitution, the Tribal Council has authority to
govern all affairs related to our Tribe and citizens.

Only the Tribal Council, or an authorized representative, can legitimately offer an official position on behalf of
the Tribe. I ask City leadership and staff to contact my office directly regarding any official position of the
Tribe on any and all matters. Thank you.

Sincerely,

Scott Sprague
Tribal Chairman
Attachment E:
Communication from the Kalamazoo County Public Art Commission
TO: Kalamazoo City Commission, Mayor and Staff
FROM: Kalamazoo County Public Art Commission (KCPAC)
Contact: Martha Aills, Chair
aillsmwa@umich.edu
269-599-4958
RE: Iannelli Fountain

11/15/17

This letter serves as recommendations from the Kalamazoo County Public Art
Commission (KCPAC) for a series of best practices in relation to the complex set
of issues relating to the Bronson Park Master Plan and the Iannelli Fountain.

KCPAC was created in the early 1980s by an intergovernmental agreement


between the cities of Kalamazoo and Portage and Kalamazoo County. Per its
Articles of Incorporation, its broadest purpose is to make recommendations to
the public agencies as to works of art.

Its volunteer members lend a broad range of expertise to the public agencies
with the goal of bringing best practices to KCPACs recommendations. Although
its level of activity has varied over time, in the last few years members joined in
calling for the Bronson Park Master Plan and participated in discussions about
Bronson Park, the Iannelli Fountain, and the Four Corners project.

Given KCPACs advisory role, Kalamazoo City Commissioner Jack Urban and
Pam OConnor, volunteer and former member of the Historic Preservation
Commission, met with KCPAC on 9 November, 2017 to discuss the ongoing
debate surrounding the Iannelli Fountain, its place in the Kalamazoo community
and Bronson Park, ongoing restoration efforts, and the social context of its
iconography. A rich discussion amongst KCPAC members and municipality
representatives took place.

KCPAC steadfastly affirms public arts value in serving civic discourse,


community engagement and identification, and increasing the cultural value of
the constituencies in which it is sited. Consequently, public art serves a broad set
of purposes, including celebration, inspiration, aspiration, commemoration,
enhancement, generation of thought and discussion, education and economic
development.

Equally so, public art necessitates careful consideration. Its relationship to


private sector interests and publicly owned spaces requires deliberation
regarding a work of public arts specific social and political functions, who it
claims to speak for, and who may feel marginalized by a piece of public art
and/or its context and siting. KCPAC hopes this is an opportunity to engage in
productive conversation across broad-based constituencies of the Kalamazoo
community.

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Some principles and perspectives when considering the Citys approach to
handling public art may include:

Diversity is to be acknowledged and celebrated.


One art piece cannot claim to speak for all peoples and their diverse
histories. This is especially true when an art piece deals with painful
issues such as power differences and oppression.
There are national and international models, resources and best practices
for dealing with these issues.
The impact of an installation may well each beyond local borders, and
therefore participation beyond local residents, businesses, governments
and councils is reasonable and valuable.
Siting Matters. The geographic location of an artwork may come to
symbolize an inequitable power relationship for marginalized communities.
Likewise, the prominence of public art within a citys plan can offer
significant opportunities for fostering a sense of community and the citys
regional/national/international prominence. Finally, the use of a particular
site (i.e., how that area is used by its citizens) bears significant
consideration when deciding where to place public art.
Ownership matters. A government, its elected officials and staff have a
responsibility to all their constituents to address pubic art issues on public
property.
Funding matters. Funding must be justified, but sufficient to support the
necessary efforts to achieve desired outcomes. This may include such
things as educational efforts, alternative art works, long range
preservation and restoration concerns, ethical and fair fees for the
commissioning and production of new works.

In the question of the Iannelli Fountain, there are compelling arguments on both
sides to conserve the fountain and to remove it.

Conservation

It is an excellent example of Art Deco sculpture, and a particularly


important example of its relationship to Prairie School art and architecture.
Alfonso Iannelli is a significant figure in the history of American Modernism
in art, design and architecture.
The fountain has been an integral part of Kalamazoos architecture and
visual history for decades. In June 2016 the fountain complex was listed
on the National Register of Historic Places.
There have been many years of public discussion to develop
recommendations.
Many incremental steps have been taken toward the implementation of
these recommendations.

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Fund-raising to support the recommendations is well underway and will be
jeopardized by delay.
Conservation of a resource is better achieved sooner rather than later
because of ongoing deterioration.

Removal

Artistic intent is not sufficient to assess the interpretation and meaning of a


work of art; it is crucial to understand the cultural and political legacy of an
object. In the matter of the Iannelli Fountain, the climate surrounding
indigenous rights, colonialism, and the right to land deserves serious
historical perspective and consideration. The afterlives or contemporary
political climate should be just as valuable as the moment of creation.
The works iconography raises issues of territorial appropriation, genocide,
imperialism and colonialism that are traumatic to First Nation peoples and
individuals belonging to other historically marginalized communities.
The fountains highly visible, permanent siting in Bronson Park suggests
its message (however one wishes to interpret it) is integral to the social
and cultural beliefs of the city. Moreover, the use of tax funds and public
land could suggest an endorsement by the city and county of Kalamazoo
of the cultural themes the fountain represents.
Works of art change in context as our relationship to history changes. The
city should give serious consideration to the cultural and political concerns
of marginalized peoples, including the demand for removal.

KCPACS Recommendations

1. Retain and conserve the fountain in its present location.


2. Accompany conservation of the fountain with on-site educational materials
and programming to provide the history and context of this art work. This
educational material and programming should draw from the expertise of
professionals in appropriate fields including (but not limited to): art
historians with specialization in American Modernism, Native American
and indigenous studies scholars, public art specialists and landscape
architects as well as local community leaders and historians.
3. Support and assist in the design and installation of an equally compelling
art work which presents an alternative view as developed by indigenous
people. The city should assist, in consultation with KCPAC, in the
development for a Call for Proposals, discussion about siting, and a juried
selection if needed.

Qualifiers

Knowledge of work regarding conservation of the Iannelli Fountain (#1) is


relatively well known and well funded. However, KCPAC expresses concern
about the lack of information regarding the process, product and funding

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proposed for education and alternative art (#2 and 3). Given that many of our
concerns regard the interpretation of the fountain and incorporation of the
concerns and voices of marginalized communities, our recommendations come
with a number of qualifiers:

There must be a very wide-ranging, transparent outreach to the aggrieved


parties (indigenous people, including but not limited to, the Match-E-Be-
Nash-She-Wish Band) that supports the participation in the development
and implementation of education materials and alternative art which are
meaningful to them.
These efforts must be supported by best practices and experts in the field.
These efforts must be supported by sufficient funding to achieve the
desired process and outcomes.
These efforts must be timely preferably concurrent with restoration
efforts.

The Kalamazoo County Public Art Commission stands ready to assist with these
recommendations.

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Attachment F:
Communication from the City of Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Commission
November 15, 2017

To: City Commission

Re: Iannelli Fountain of the Pioneers

The Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Commission has been the driving force behind repairs to the
fountain since the late 1990s. Beginning with the first repairs proposed for fundraising in 2005, through
the Issues Resolution Committee, the core testing and specifications project, the delay to prepare a full
Master Plan for the park and the launch of a very successful fundraising program. Since 2006 the Match-
E-Be-Nash-She-Wish has been involved with the Issues Resolution Committee and has continued an
active partnership with the Public Education Committee and the Boundary Marker project. Without the
fountain, the educational aspect could not be implemented.

There have been many forums for public input since 2006. Hundreds of volunteers and over 40
foundations, local, regional and national corporations and numerous individuals have supported the
Bronson Park campaign to fulfill the Master Plan with time and donations.

The Kalamazoo Historic Preservation Commission recommends that the city commission move
forward with the existing plan for the rehabilitation of Bronson Park and the restoration of the
Iannelli Fountain with no changes to the Master Plan approved by the city commission in March 2016.

Approved by the Historic Preservation Commission

November 14, 2017