Board to vote on future of fountain at Albuquerque BioPark Botanic Garden

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Anyone who has been to the Albuquerque BioPark Botanic Garden has more than likely passed a colorful fountain right at the entrance. 

After 27 years, the City of Albuquerque could be getting rid of the Rosalie Doolittle Fountain because of its current state. 

However, the artist who created it, Shel Neymark, is spreading the word about the significance of the fountain. 

“I feel like it’s important for the people of Albuquerque to know what they’re losing which is why I made this presentation,” Neymark said in a video posted to YouTube

Neymark gives an in-depth look into how he created the fountain, starting from when he had just drawings and drafts. 

The fountain was Neymark’s first large public art project, and he spent two years drafting a blueprint for the fountain before he broke ground on the project in 1996. 

In the video, Neymark also points out what he believes the city did wrong surrounding his art piece. 

“I hope it’s helpful for the Botanic Garden and the Public Arts Board to understand where they went wrong, why this is happening,” he said. 

Neymark claims he offered to help with maintenance on the piece numerous times, but his attempted cooperation failed. 

“I think I knew what the problem was, and I wrote a letter to the garden offering to replace it for free,” he said. “I was told that the head of the Biopark didn’t want me working at the property and that they would hire somebody else to do it.”

While the city’s Public Arts Board could vote to decommission the piece on Feb. 15, Neymark just hopes that at least a lesson could be learned here with the city and future artists that work with them. 

“I hope the Public Arts Board will never treat a piece of art or artist like this again,” he said. 

In a statement to KOB 4, city officials said that they are taking into consideration Neymark’s video he made and the statement he formally made to the arts board in January. After the vote Tuesday, it will still take two months to make a final decision.