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City Hall Plaza Fountain Designs Unveiled

And Kim Barnes reads from her new novel, In the Kingdom of Men

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Since 1990, the light-blue tiled fountain outside City Hall downtown has bubbled water into the surrounding pond. But come July 2013 a new fountain will take its place.

The whole plaza, including the interior of the first three floors of City Hall, is in the process of renovation due to structural issues.

The City of Boise held a national call to artists for a new fountain design. A seven-person panel narrowed the applicants down to three--one from Seattle, one from Texas, and one from New York City.

"We really wanted a water feature," said Karen Bubb of the Boise City Department of Arts and History. "And we wanted the person building the fountain to have past experience with water features."

Of the 40 applicants, five came from Idaho, though none of them had prior experience with fountains.

Bubb hopes the renovation will make the City Hall Plaza more accessible and urban.

"It's never been a great place for public gatherings," Bubb said.

The fountain will cost $200,000, half of which will come from the Boise City Public Arts Program and the other half from Capital City Development Corporation.

The three proposals are currently posted on the Boise City Department of Arts and History's blog, where members of the public can comment and vote for their favorites until Friday, June 1.

Also on June 1, Lewiston native and PEN Award-winning author Kim Barnes will swing by Rediscovered Bookshop to promote the release of her fourth novel.

In The Kingdom of Men is set in 1967 and follows the life of Gin Mitchell and her husband Mason McPhee. The couple move from Oklahoma to Saudi Arabia when Mason takes a job with the Arabian American Oil Company. Barnes' use of rich imagery and enticing language pulls readers into her new novel and keeps them hooked to the last page as she spills details surrounding the mysterious death of a Bedouin woman whose body is found washed ashore in the Persian Gulf.

Barnes will read from her new novel for FREE at 7 p.m. at Rediscovered Bookshop.

And in other Idaho arts news, the 22nd Annual Art and Roses event will return to Julia Davis Park Sunday, June 3, from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. The FREE event will feature live local music and food vendors, and a portion of all sales will be donated to the Rose Garden.

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