The Firefighters Fountain Memorial in Penn Valley Park and was officially dedicated on Friday, September 11, 2015.
Arizona artist Barbara Grygutis was selected through a Call-For-Artists process in 2011 to create a site-specific artwork for the Firefighters Fountain and Memorial in Penn Valley Park. The artist met several times with the project steering committee and developed a design which incorporated particular goals for the site, including re-working and correcting the names of fallen firefighters included in the memorial. The art project consists of two large, segmented, curved ‘walls’, each consisting of a double row of perforated aluminum panels, mounted on a low limestone wall. Solid aluminum plaques, mounted on one side, are etched with the names of fallen firefighters.
The perforated aluminum panels are lit from inside with blue LED lights. The blue light is intended to create a calming and peaceful atmosphere, and to symbolize knowledge, integrity, seriousness, reliability and trust.
The granite bases in the circle at the north side of the site display etched names of fallen firefighters. But those surfaces are filled, and the names are unevenly distributed. In addition, research done by the Fire Department revealed some names which had been left off and others which had errors in spelling or dates. The new aluminum name panels have the corrected information on the new art walls. But the existing granite bases will remain in the circle, and will have new metal panels attached on their surfaces, which will also describe significant events in the history of Kansas City’s Fire Department.
Funding for the project was provided through the City’s 1% for Art program. Landscaping around the fountain was funded by PIAC.