Spirit of Freedom Fountain

Photo by Bradley Cramer

Location: Emanuel Cleaver II Boulevard and Cleveland Avenue, Kansas City, MO

Owner: Kansas City, MO Parks & Recreation Dept.

Artist/Designer: Richard Hunt

Dates: Dedicated September 13, 1981; Repaired Winter 2017-18; Re-dedicated April 17, 2018

The City of Fountains Foundation holds an endowment for this fountain.


A 5,000 lb. metallic free form sculpture sits on a pedestal in the middle of a retaining pool - elliptical in shape with raised platforms that support the sculpture. Water pours from the base of the platform and there are six clusters of water jets in the interior of the basin.

In 1977, City Councilman Bruce R. Watkins organized the Spirit of Freedom Foundation to develop a monument to the contributions of the black people in Kansas City. Richard Hunt, a black Chicago sculptor, presented an abstract model to reflect the symbolic nature of the subject. He also noted that it was in keeping with the improvisational aspects of Kansas City jazz. The fountain was dedicated in 1981 exactly one year after Watkins' death.

In the winter of 2017-2018, this fountain underwent repairs and renovations. The sculpture was removed off-site where it was cleaned and restored. The fountain itself was torn out and rebuilt with new concrete, plumbing, and lighting. It was re-dedicated as part of the 2018 Fountain Day event on April 17, 2018.

Click to enlarge

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