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Critical Juncture/


A1  CJ FB 1998 Feb 11  Register's Iowa News -Face Lift .jpg

The Face lift...

A2 CJ FB 2-11-1998 Face Lift Register.jpg

According to this 1998 DM Register article, leaking pipes for the water feature were discovered in 1996 and were repaired. Water over the sculpture was flowing once again in summer 1997.


But more importantly, as early as 1996, Marcheschi’s light sculpture, Plains Aurora, had started losing its light display and was in need of more serious structural repairs. However, the Des Moines Register article of February 11 of that year featured Critical Juncture / Fluid Boundary's  photo with the headline “Sculpture Needs a Facelift” that could cost $50,000! The implication of the headline was a shock to Wyrick, since the major repair cost was for the light sculpture. Marcheschi’s Prairie Aurora had lost its brilliance and then had “gone dark.”

Gardening replaces the water feature...

B1 CJ-FB #3 1987-89 with deflector- short-lived water flow c755.jpg

With the water shut off, Governor Branstad ordered the water to be shut down permanently and Wyrick (never having been content with the water display over her sculpture) proposed that the large lower water pool be converted to a garden. To make the garden representative of Iowa’s early history and in keeping with its original intent, she proposed that the basin be turned into a Prairie Garden, with short plants representative of the state’s history at the time of the Marquette-Joliet entry into the territory. The Iowa Arts Council, now headed by Anita Walker, welcomed and accepted her proposal and authorized the funding for the garden’s design and plantings.

The disappointing lower garden landscape, corrected in June 2007...

Wyrick had contacted a highly recommended Des Moines landscape architectural firm to design the garden and the State of Iowa’s landscape crew handled the physical arrangements. She asked the landscape architect to choose grassy prairie plants and suggested low grasses, hopeful that they would possibly wave with any breeze, much as the tall grass prairie would have done. Instead the landscape design contained some overly large (especially cornstalk-like) plants that grew to obscure the sculpture.


Wyrick worked with the State’s landscape crews several times and they were extremely helpful even while being overwhelmed with work on the government grounds. They were able to dig out the unruly plants and replant. (When they dug out those plants, they found that a group of those big stalks had provided shelter and housing for homeless people. We were sorry to have to destroy them only for that reason!)

C1 CJ-FB 2008_07_23 Greenfall detail.jpg
C2 CJ-FB w full steel waterfall copy.jpg

A try at gardening in the upper basin and abandoning the name of “Greenfall”...

Later, after a steel rod “waterfall” was authorized and professionally installed, Wyrick was optimistic that blue rug juniper plants in the upper basin would eventually cascade down between the steel rods and she temporarily retitled the artwork Greenfall.


The plants were added and began successfully as is evident in this photo of the plants growing above the sculpture. But the bluerug juniper didn’t survive because of the State’s finances and lack of staffing to maintain the juniper garden. In addition the concentrated heat in the upper area required more watering than was possible.

C3  CJ FB 2008_07_23 Greenfall begins success06-93.JPG

Other plantings in that area thrived with adequate care, watering and less heat.

C4 Greenfall adjacent planters.jpg

Because of this failure, the name Greenfall was abandoned.


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