Mural by John Wherle.
The John Wherle mural depicts the Miller Park lagoon with various herons and egrets. Also, at the far right of the mural, a woman stands next to a "no swimming" sign, ready to take the plunge into territory reserved only for wildlife. The blues in Wherle's mural match almost perfectly the blue of the pool waters on a sunny day. John Wherle has been painting murals in Richmond for decades. Perhaps the best known one is on San Pablo Avenue under the freeway near Barrett Avenue. It's called A Revisionist History of Richmond. His web site is http://www.troutinhand.com/
A seahorse design by Arlin Robbins is at the entrance
to women's locker room. Notice the wavy lines in the white
tile around the seahorse, as if the seahorse is
Mermaid tile design by Arlin Robbins.. I do
not know where this is placed inside the Natatorium.
The mushroom fountain has been placed outside the
building instead of in the shallow end where
most people remember it. It now has the
original 1926 tile pattern. Will it ultimately be
removed to make way for parking?
The mushroom fountain was restored to its original 1926 design and placed outside the building on the front lawn. The water was turned on and running into a depression in the earth near the fountain. If swimmers did not get enough water in the pool, they could re-wet themselves in the fountain. Local mice and gophers will probably like it too. Six months is about the average time for an outdoor fountain to remain in operation in Point Richmond.
Sculptress Arlin Robbins was originally chosen to do tile work on the mushroom fountain, but the original 1926 pattern was chosen instead. She emailed The Point Richmond Voice with this comment:
I am happy to give you a resume, but you can have anything you want from my website and that's already in digital form:
http://www.arlinart.com/Bio.htm has my bio (although it's about 10 years old.)
I am responsible for all of the interior mosaics at the Plunge.
However, I have nothing to do with the mushroom fountain at this point.
The architect changed the plan at the end of May and decided to have it tiled with material that resembled the original tile from 80 years ago.
The artisan who did the work is Sean Guitterez.
Since October 2009, I've been engaged to design a mosaic work of art for the fountain, and have had the responsibility of presenting and promoting this art to every deciding body regarding the Plunge:
The Save the Plunge Trust Board
The City of Richmond Public Art Advisory Committee
The Historic Preservation Design Review Board Subcommittee
The Design Review Board
The City of Richmond Planning Department
The Point Richmond Land Use Committee
and The Point Richmond Neighborhood Council.
My gallery, the Pt. Richmond Art Collective, even had a fund raising auction to help pay for the mosaic.
On May 29th, the architect discovered that the filtration system for the play fountain would be prohibitively expensive, and so changed his approach to the installation to accommodate his preferred solution. I was taken off the project at that point, when I expressed my concern that the community would be disappointed to not get the work of art and a running fountain that they all expected.
Evidently, the architect found a way to convince enough people to go with this new approach.
This has been a very deep disappointment. But I do not feel that further discussion will accomplish anything positive, so I would just as soon let it pass.
I am sorry I was not able to provide the sparkling, graceful art that I was originally commissioned for, but I feel that Sean did an excellent job with the work he was requested to do