The Uncle Wilber Fountain
Downtown Colorado Springs’ invitation to whimsy
A lasting legacy of artful antics
Artists and fountain designers Bob and Kat Tudor imagined how playful & interactive art could entirely transform a public space. Then, through the Smokebrush Foundation, they made that dream a reality and gifted it to the city of Colorado Springs.
Kat and Bob sought out world-renowned engineers and manufacturers from the entertainment industry (think Las Vegas & high-end theme parks) to bring their art and ideas to life. Uncle Wilber and his side-kick monkey, WeeBee, were constructed of industrial grade fiberglass. Then, they and the sky-blue dome that conceals them between shows were painted and sealed with brightly-colored, high-endurance paint. Meantime, sophisticated computer programming and mechanisms were custom built to control the Fountain’s wide array of waterfalls, geysers, and seemingly random water jets.
Must have music!
And of course there had to be music! Surround-sound speakers were mounted just outside of the Fountain’s spray. These high-performance speakers broadcast Bob’s original scores, inviting all to dance as Uncle Wilber makes his hourly appearances.
First inspired by a man playing a tuba, Bob and Kat later found a connection between the tuba-player in their creation and Bob’s uncle, Wilber Fulker. In addition to playing the tuba in his youth, Wilber Fulker loved mechanical contraptions, and he was delighted by Tudors’ innovative fountain design.
Wilber Fulker was born in Monument, Colorado and lived most of his 93 years in Colorado Springs. He was a family man, active community volunteer, and an instructor & principal at the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind (known for his inventive models for teaching students with visual limitations).