Deborah Kornegay Memorial Fountain

Imperial Center For The Arts, Rocky Mount, North Carolina

This terracotta and bronze fountain is located inside the Rocky Mount Arts Center at the Imperial Center in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. The monument honors the life and work of Debbie Kornegay, a resident of Rocky Mount, who died tragically.

The general concept behind this memorial is Charity, as Debbie was widely recognized for her selfless commitment to her community. I thought a fitting tribute might come in the form of a wishing well. Apart from a wishing well's symbolic function as a symbol of hope ( a wish being the 'civic' version of prayer), it could have a very real charitable function, one that I would like to think Debbie would approve of. Any coins tossed into the basin will be periodically gathered and donated to local charities once supported by Debbie's work.

The themes running though the work deal with charitable acts and nurturing. A bronze allegorical figure of Charity stands atop the fountain, gently pouring water from a small dish onto a small potted plant in her hand. The the drip of water falling onto her plant is echoed and amplified in the cascade of water from the upper basin into the lower one, and floral motifs are found throughout the terra cotta basin. In addition, the fountain is adorned with living plants and flowers, their pots sculpted right into the fountain.

The siting of the fountain in the Arts Center is a large alcove, just off the main atrium of the building. The photo below shows how the monument is triangular in shape, fitting into the corner of the alcove, to allow for foot traffic through the alcove as well as the widest possible viewing angle of the fountain. (A 'head on' view of the fountain is not really possible, due to a structural support about ten feet in front of the fountain.) The fountain itself is made of over 130 handmade terracotta tiles I have fired myself, as well as having hand-mixed 1500 pounds of clay from a recipe I developed for this work, similar to a clay body used for bricks. The inscription on the backsplash reads "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you."