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
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.
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,
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.