Fountain brings new life to riverfront museum

By Alyssa Donovan

April 28, 2013 Updated Apr 28, 2013 at 10:30 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill.-- Flood waters have been the main tourist attraction on the Peoria riverfront for the past week, now visitors have something new to feast their eyes on.

The high waters have turned the Peoria riverfront into quite a tourist attraction, drawing crowds on Sunday to take in the historic flood while they still can.

But across the street at the Peoria Riverfront Museum, things were getting back to normal with the dedication of the new Fountain Group water fountain.

Museum President and CEO, Jim Richerson said, "So many people will see this in the future and the fact that it has such a strong Peoria connection. Also the theme of water is so important to us... The river, the fountain and the fact that Harrison Gibbs daughter ‘Moni’ Gibbs grew up right here in the city I think that's so many great connections to have."

The artist, Harrison Gibbs, created the sculpture in Rome and having it here at the museum holds the greatest meaning for his daughter, Ramona Gibbs.

Gibbs said, "having something of his here where I can see it so often and have it remind me of his great talent and also the fact that it is a gift to the community means a great deal to me it's just thrilling."

The Peoria native told the story of her parents meeting in Rome ending with the dedication of the fountain to their memory.

Gibbs says the statue is timeless, "I like to think of it as being a thing of beauty and with the water flowing through it, adds another dimension of life."

Richerson says the fountain is the exclamation point of the sculpture garden.

He said, "I think that's just the beginning of so many more people that will come down here to enjoy it, to sit down to look at it to hear the falling water is very calming."

The museum will host its first wedding in the sculpture garden in May.

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