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Who Are the Faces on the Crown Fountain? | Chicago

Who are the faces on the Crown Fountain? Wander around the Loop and you’ll be sure to come across the eye-catching installment of art and water in Chicago’s Millennium Park. The Crown Fountain was unveiled in July 2004, it has quickly become a favorite summer hangout for both locals and tourists alike.

Who Are the Faces on the Crown Fountain?

During the planning phase, creators of the Crown Fountain worried that the project would come across as tacky. This is because at certain times the fountain spouts water which is supposed to resemble spit from the LED-lighted faces.

When first revealed to the public, the children and adults who were present immediately ran to play in the fountain’s water assuming that this was what the fountain was intended for. Now every summer, families come to cool off in the “saliva” of local Chicagoans. The water feature runs from May through October.

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Who Are the People on Chicago’s Crown Fountain?

Catalan artist Jaume Plensa had a goal to create an enduring snapshot of the diversity of Chicago’s population. A total of 1,000 faces were used for the project. These folks were everyday Chicagoans who were chosen by asking 180 different community groups if anyone wanted to volunteer.

Along with Plensa, the students, staff, and faculty from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago helped with the filming. Two photoshoots were organized, one in 2003 and one in 2004. The recording took place in an adjustable dentist chair where the residents were asked to smile, pucker, and make a hole with their lips and blow. Participants were told to focus on a hanging tennis ball to prevent their eyes from wandering. A high definition camera was used to film 80 seconds of each individual’s face.

Interesting Facts About Chicago’s Crown Fountain

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There are some very interesting facts regarding Crown Fountain. You will never see the same face on each tower. Some of the participants have never seen their faces on the tower. Others have only been able to see photos of their faces from images that have been posted online.

It is impossible to know which face will pop up because the order randomly generated from a computer program.  Some participants stated that they were told that their faces would be used for over 50 years when they went in for filming.

Interestingly enough, the people who are featured are very hard to locate today. Some have passed away. Others have moved away from Chicago. However, the faces featured on the 50-foot tall structures will never be replaced and new faces will never be added. This was always Plensa’s intention. In a 2005 interview, he stated, “The ephemeral is a great tribute to life.”

Where Is the Crown Fountain Located?

The Crown Fountain is located at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Monroe Street in Millennium Park. It is truly a cool and unusual attraction in downtown Chicago.

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