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Critical Juncture/



In 2005, sixteen years after the installation of Critical Juncture / Fluid Boundary, Wyrick received a phone call from Bruce Williams of the Iowa Arts Council saying that “her proposal” had been accepted and her immediate response was, “What Proposal?”


In 1989, Wyrick had suggested that evenly spaced steel bars representing “water,” curved and arched over the bronze sculpture from the top of the intended waterfall’s weir might be one way to substitute for the malfunctioning water feature.


To her surprise, not only had the Iowa Arts Council accepted her “proposal”-- Williams told Wyrick that she was to submit a budget and go ahead and have the steel structure made at no extra cost to her!!


By that time she had established a relationship with a highly capable metal fabrication firm in Altoona (Wyrick’s hometown) and Wyrick had only to give them specifications for the steel bar addition.

Simulating waterflow with curved steel rods...

Wyrick made sketches, along with more detailed specifications, for the longtime, longed for “Steel Waterfall.”

A1 Sketch for steel waterfall.jpg
A2 CJFB Steel waterfall sketch.jpg

Installation of CRITICAL JUNCTURE/

FLUID BOUNDARY's Steel Waterfall...

Cox Design & Metal Fabrication, Inc. of Altoona, Iowa carried through with fabrication and installation of the steel waterfall.

B2 Greenfall w half steel waterfall 2.jpg
B3 Greenfall steel upper waterfall structure.jpg
B4 CJ-FB 2008_07_23 Greenfall photoshopped.jpg
B5  CJ FB 2008_07_23 early Greenfall plantingsJPG.JPG

Trying more

gardening and a change of name...

With advice from gardeners, Wyrick expanded her thinking about how to further enhance the steel waterfall. They urged her to have blue rug juniper grown in the upper basin of the waterfall because it could be trained to grow so it would cascade down between the steel bars. It was then that she decided to rename the artwork Greenfall.


plantings begin to develop...

B5  CJ FB 2008_07_23 early Greenfall plantingsJPG.JPG

In 2008, the first growth of the juniper was promising even though it was located primarily in the area right over the bronze sculpture.

The name “Greenfall” abandoned...

However, with the intense summer heat in the area, shallow planting space and limits on time that Capitol groundskeepers could tend the garden, the juniper plants did not survive. And the name Greenfall was never formally adopted as its new name.

June 29, 2006 –

“Ignite the Night” fundraiser...

It was Anita Walker’s appointment as Director of the Iowa Arts Council that drove the decision to fund restoration on both sculptures through a 2006 celebration/fundraiser held to complete funding for the restorations.


Walker had decided to run an event to fund renovation of Marcheschi's Plains Aurora light sculpture and to fund Wyrick’s “steel waterfall.”

Wyrick's Speech at

“Ignite the Night”...

I am delighted to be here this evening to “Ignite the Night” with you and to see the re-lighting of Cork Marcheschi’s restored artwork, Plains Aurora, which will once again be a beacon from Des Moines’ lively East Village.  It is also gratifying to me that this event marks the kickoff that will help Critical Juncture / Fluid Boundary to achieve its true potential as it becomes Greenfall.


I was asked to speak briefly about Art in Public Places —a subject of great interest to me as an artist and citizen.  I’ve been intrigued by the many directions art in public places has taken and by the many ways in which it is defined and selected and also funded through public, private and public/private partnerships.


I believe we desperately need to enhance our public spaces to satisfy our need for wonder, meditation and delight and also to leave a record of ourselves, and a legacy for the future. Many art-in-public-places’ artworks become “Place Makers” that define the place and the community they serve. But very simply put:  I believe Art (both public and private) speaks to us; Art speaks for us and Art speaks about us.


It takes some very special people to team up to make Art-in-Public Places happen and to make it work––artists are only one part of the team.  Some of the team members are:

First of all, people such as each of you who love art, even art that might be puzzling.


People who lend support through funding the arts, either through the public or private sectors or a partnership of the two.


Institutions, businesses or individuals who provide a site that encourages the public to be in it or to pass through it.


The arts administrators, the arts committee members and individuals who advocate for art, define the scope of a project and undertake the artist selection process.


The artists or arts teams who provide concept and oversight during construction.


Professionals who provide architectural, structural and landscape design, and budget estimates.


Companies and people who provide fabrication and installation services.


Publicists and media who get out the word about the artwork in a meaningful way.


And most importantly, the people of the public who participate in the artwork (and, for that matter, even those who state the “Emperor has no clothes!” when they encounter and experience new artworks!  These people make us examine even more closely the validity of the artwork.)

This -- my bronze relief, Critical Juncture / Fluid Boundary, was based on the first European sighting, from the juncture of the Wisconsin and the Mississippi Rivers in northeast Iowa, of the land that became our State of Iowa. Critical Juncture / Fluid Boundary marks the first interface between Native People and European cultures and also signifies the historic cultural break that underlies the establishment of Iowa’s boundaries.


My sculpture was designed to interact with a 38-foot wide waterfall, but several problems with the waterfall and its design developed and plagued it as I was creating the sculpture and throughout the years that followed.


About two years into the project, in 1988, I proposed Critical Juncture / Greenfall (and that proposal is here on this easel), that substitutes both indigenous and European greenery and a sculptural stainless steel framework to simulate the flowing waterfall.  Although the art selection committee agreed at that time that this would be a fine solution, funding to do so was not available.


With Anita Walker’s leadership, interest in Greenfall  has been rekindled.  And I will be extremely grateful for the opportunity to, as I see it, complete the work.  The bronze relief, Critical Juncture / Fluid Boundary has itself stood the test of time.  I believe that once created, Greenfall , along with Prairie Aurora will become a point of great pride for Des Moines area residents and visitors.


I invite all of you to help make Greenfall  a reality. Thanks so much for being here on this very special night––we deeply appreciate it!  I’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have about the transition to Greenfall  this evening or I’ll be happy to give you my business card so you can contact me later.



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