February of 1992, architect Steve Borbas and I were invited by the
New Mexico School for the Deaf, funded in part by the New Mexico
Arts Division, to create a fountain centrally located on the campus.
Collaboratively designed and built with the help of students, faculty
and staff of the school, this fountain would also commemorate
“Artsign”, an annual gathering of young deaf visual and performing
artists from five states.
Riverwall stretches over 75 feet (25 meters) and
represents the fruit of this collective effort. One side of the work
features a poem (stamped in clay tiles) “Make the Earth Bright, and
Thanks”, written by Meridel LeSueur, who granted us permission to
use it. On the other side of the meandering wall, a continuous
curtain of tiles presents the rhythmic and tactile patterns of moving
water, emphasizing the crest and flow of a river. A steel channel
running along the curving top of the wall spills water into a pool,
recycling it back to the top.
At the April 23, 1992 dedication, hearing and non-hearing people
from Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico
brought water from all over the world – waters from such sources as
the Pacific, the Atlantic, the Gulf of Mexico, the Mississippi, Ganges,
Amazon, etc. to add to the fountain, celebrating unity among all