So in May, avant-garde sculptress Pamela Council went to work developing the bustling hub’s first-ever public fountain.
And she nailed it — actually. “It’s a 18-foot-tall multitiered wishing water fountain that’s housed inside of a carapace shell covered in 400,000 acrylic fingernails,” Council, 35, advised The Post. “It’s called ‘A Fountain for Survivors.’”
The glistening monument, commissioned by the public artwork program Times Square Arts, will stand on the intersection of forty sixth Street and Broadway as a logo of the town’s peak-pandemic resilience from Oct. 14 by way of Dec. 8.
And choose acrylics featured within the piece are impressed by flossy nail designs worn by stars equivalent to Megan Thee Stallion, Kylie Jenner, Cardi B and Doja Cat.
“Nails have always been a beauty accessory that signified dignity, strength and glamour to me,” mentioned Council. She has included fingernails into her art work for greater than a decade — most notably in her 2012 piece devoted to late Olympic sprinting medalist and nail fanatic Florence “Flo Jo” Griffith Joyner.
“The decorated acrylics surrounding this fountain honor the beautiful perseverance of survivors who’ve overcome all different types of trials and trauma,” the native Long Islander added. “It’s an offering to New York City that celebrates its unbreakable spirit — even in the midst of a viral outbreak.”
Council employed a crew of native nail technicians to color every talon in her exuberant mosaic. And she spent greater than 160 days over the past 5 months overseeing their progress by way of Zoom video calls and socially distanced conferences, and handcrafting the huge mould in her Downtown Brooklyn workshop.
“Some of the funky nail designs will remind you of a style your auntie might have worn in the early ’90s,” mentioned Council, referring to the flowery gildings ladies of colour rocked all through the last decade.
Others “have a more contemporary flare, and they’re decked out with metallic strokes and rhinestones,” she continued. “But the bulk of them are the classic French manicure.”
As a completed product, Council’s acrylic-covered art work presents Times Square sightseers a multisensory expertise, that includes vibrant colours and visuals — in addition to candy scents and easy sounds.
“When you visit [the fountain], an art ambassador will offer you a wishing wafer, which is a fizzy tab in the shape of a coin,” mentioned Council, a graduate of Columbia University. “And when you toss it into the fountain and make a wish, it fizzes up and gives off the fragrance of a Florida healing water.”
The expertise is enhanced by a soundtrack of warrior anthems, together with Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor” and Mariah Carey’s “Shake It Off.”
“The fountain’s playlist is full of empowering songs by dynamic singers,” Council mentioned, noting that she drew creative inspiration from Carey’s 2020 memoir — through which the Grammy winner described surviving her troubled childhood. “Music adds another layer of hope and joy to the ambiance.”
Council crafted the construction within the hopes that every spectator “has a private, reflective and fun moment within this very warm, cocoon-like landmark in the middle of Times Square.”
Her collection of Afro-Americana influenced fountains — together with a Juneteenth memorial dubbed “Red Drink,” which drips crimson soda and is on show in Houston, Texas, and a fondue-shaped fountain referred to as “Tender-headed” that oozes Luster’s Pink hair lotion and is featured in a showcase at UTA Artist Space in Beverly Hills, California — caught the attention of Times Square Arts director Jean Cooney in early 2021.
“Times Square is a universal gathering place for so many people, yet it’s never had a fountain,” Cooney advised The Post. “But as the city began reopening after the harshness of the pandemic, we knew we wanted an inventive artist like Pamela to create an ambitious structure that reunites and uplifts us.”
And she mentioned Council’s use of acrylic nails to convey the spirit of survival is nothing lower than a stroke of genius.
“Conceptually, the nails provide a tough, but beautiful exterior that protects this very vulnerable and intimate interior space,” Cooney mentioned. “It’s symbolic of the duality of a survivor’s heart, and that’s just what we need in the heart of the city right now.”