Merriam Bear Pit Fountain
Owner: City of Merriam
Artist: Kwan Wu
This multi-level, multi-feature fountain is located along Shawnee Mission Parkway in Merriam just east of Interstate 35. It starts up by Shawnee Mission Parkway with a large pool with four bubblers in it and a sign for the City of Merriam across the top. The water falls down to another pool with then flows into a channel that runs underneath a walkway. There are placards along the walkway telling the history of Merriam. The water ends up in the pool next to the Visitors Bureau. The pool contains seven more bubblers and a sculpture of a mother bear and two cubs.
The sculpture is entitled "The Bear Pit," and is also known as "Motherhood," and was created by Kansas City artist Kwan Wu. The mother attends to one of the cubs, perhaps teaching it a skill, while the other cub is on its back attempting to catch a fish that has jumped out of the water.
The site the fountain and Visitors Bureau is located on was once the location of a park that contained a zoo. The zoo featured a bear pit which was home to three bears that often wandered away only to be captured and returned. Kwan Wu used the bears as inspiration for his sculptures.