featured projects

Pamela Council, A Fountain for Survivors

Project Team Members (Powerhouse Arts Staff): Art Domantay, Reid Farrington, Jeremy Gender, Jacob Olmedo, Larry Oraa, Candy Truong, Marie Ucci 

Commissioner/Funder/Presenter(s): Times Square Arts

project overview

Times Square Arts commissioned Powerhouse Arts to project manage, fabricate, install, and deinstall Pamela Council’s A Fountain For Survivors exhibited as a public art activation in Times Square. A Fountain for Survivors is an exuberant life- affirming monument for survivors of all kinds. The work is Council’s first public artwork and their largest work to date.

Inspired by the protective carapace of many arthropods, the sculpture is adorned with a mosaic of nearly 400,000 bedazzled acrylic fingernails, hundreds of which are hand painted by local nail artists. Inside the sculpture resides a vibrant multi-tiered fountain that sings a collection of pop and hip-hop anthems that embody survival. Visitors are invited to toss specially made tablets, or “Wishing Wafers” into the water, effusing a scent of Florida Water as they fizz and dissolve in an offering to survivors of all kinds.

The fabrication techniques involved in constructing the work include 3D modeling, 3D printing, hand sculpting of EPS foam, CNC milling, sound design, DMX Lighting system, polyurea hard coating spray application, and hand application of thousands of acrylic nails. Approximately 60 makers were involved in the fabrication and assembly. Lastly, the Printshop silk-screened 6 color posters in conjunction with the exhibition.

A Fountain for Survivors was exhibited in Father Duffy Square, which makes up the northern end of Times Square from October 14th to December 7th, 2021.

artist biography

Pamela Council is a New York-based interdisciplinary artist known for creating fountains for Black joy. Guided by material, cultural, and metaphysical quests, Council’s practice embodies a darkly humorous, maximalist, and inventive Afro-Americana camp aesthetic called BLAXIDERMY. Through this lens, Council uses sculpture, print, design, architecture, writing, and performance to shed light on under-examined narratives and to make tributes, offerings, and dedications.

Council has created commissions, exhibitions, performances, and presentations for the New Museum for Contemporary Art, United States Library of Congress, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Studio Museum in Harlem, Nike, and MoCADA. Council has been Artist-in-Residence at MacDowell Colony, ISCP, Red Bull Arts, Bemis Center, Mass MoCA, and Wassaic Project. A recipient of the Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Grant, Toby Devan Lewis Award, and Newark Creative Catalyst Award as a studio member of Project for Empty Space, Council holds a BA from Williams Collegs and an MFA from Columbia University.