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Spanish Village Sculpture Garden Carefree, Arizona

Built more than 20 years ago, Spanish Village was designed to resemble the center of an old Mexican village with shops around a central plaza. A focal point was a small fountain in a traditional basin at one end of a large planted area. But, the plantings and the fountain formed barriers that closed off much of the open area and created a less than inviting environment.

As part of a major renovation in 2001, I was asked to design a sculpture garden to replace the planted area and a new fountain that would reflect the new, more contemporary image of Spanish Village. The old basin was replaced with a reflecting pond that merges into the sculpture garden and is bound by a low wall along the sidewalk that lets visitors sit next to the fountain and pond, and includes steps into the sculpture garden.

The fountain is made of Vista Grande travertine with veins in shades of browns, golds and whites, that reflect the colors of the local granites and quartz found throughout the Carefree area. The cutout maintains the open feel of the courtyard and allows the water to free fall across it, creating a tiny waterfall. It also invites interaction as kids and adults toss coins (and sometimes stones) through the opening.

The Sculpture Garden showcases local artists with changing exhibitions throughout the year. Since the fountain is the only permanent piece, it has become the logo of the Sculpture Garden. Two additional fountains are planed for 2002 in other areas in the Spanish Village complex.