Detroit’s renovated Hart Plaza fountain was the star of Movement Music Fest

The Dodge and Son Memorial Fountain at Detroit’s Hart Plaza has always been the heart of Movement Music Festival, a central place for revelers to meet up, pose for photos, and rest between sets. That’s despite the fact that for much of the past decade, the fountain has been largely out of order.

That all changed this year thanks to a renovation that brought the fountain back to its former glory — and then some. Funded by the federal American Rescue Plan Act, the $6.7 million project saw repairs to the fountain’s plumbing, as well as the installation of new color-changing LED lighting. It was part of a $9 million upgrade to Hart Plaza.

The restored fountain dazzled throughout the weekend, creating a stunning rainbow during the sunshine, pulsating along with the beat of the techno music at night, and cooling guests down with its mist. It added a whole new level of enjoyment to the festival, which often uses the imagery of the fountain as visual shorthand as festival organizer Paxahau did this year.

“This moment has been a long time coming,” the city of Detroit’s construction and demolition executive director LaJuan Counts said in a statement. “The prospect of giving this iconic space a much-needed facelift and restoring the fountain to its former glory fills us with immense pride. This fountain is truly one of a kind, and reviving it is no small feat. We are deeply honored that Mayor Duggan has placed his trust in us to undertake this significant responsibility.”

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The futuristic fountain was designed by Japanese American architect Isamu Noguchi and opened in 1981. It was named after Horace Elgin Dodge, co-founder of the Dodge Brothers automobile company.

The fountain sits alongside other works of public art in Hart Plaza like “Transcending,” a 63-foot tall steel arch sculpture by David Barr and Sergio de Giusti that serves as a monument to the labor movement (and serves as the inspiration for the name of Movement Music Festival’s “Stargate” stage). Together, they contribute the retrofuturistic vibe of downtown Detroit.

click to enlarge The restored Dodge and Son Memorial Fountain lights up during Movement Music Festival. - Kahn Santori Davison

Kahn Santori Davison

The restored Dodge and Son Memorial Fountain lights up during Movement Music Festival.

Hart Plaza is named for ​​Philip A. Hart, a Democratic Senator who is known as the “Conscience of the Senate” for his work on civil rights and the environment.

The riverfront plaza is located at the site where the French explorer Antoine de la Mothe Cadillac arrived and built Fort Pontchartrain, which eventually grew into the Motor City.

The renovations to the fountain launched in October and wrapped up in April, just in time for the NFL Draft, an event that drew hundreds of thousands of football fans to Detroit. But it was during Movement Music Festival that the fountain really shined.

With other events headed for Hart Plaza including Motor City Pride, the African World Festival, and the Detroit Jazz Festival, we’re looking forward to more opportunities to enjoy the refurbished Dodge Fountain.

Detroit can have nice things.

@metrotimes The newly renovated Dodge Fountain at Hart Plaza was the star of Detroit’s Movement Music Festival. #detroit #movement2024 #techno #metrodetroit #hartplaza ♬ original sound – Detroit Metro Times

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