Artworks
Andrea's Fountain

Sr. Editor

Go under the sea with Ruth Asawa and Andrea's Fountain full of mermaids!

William Roth, who gathered the initial investors necessary to redevelop Ghirardelli Square, commissioned the fountain in 1968.

The fountain is named after Andrea Jepson, the model used for the mermaids.

The fountain features one mermaid with a merbaby, another mermaid playing with a lilypad, turtles giving rides to frogs, and more frogs randomly thrown everywhere.

This sculpture was the first of many collaborations where Asawa had the help of her friend Mae Lum Lee. They met when their children were both students at Rooftop Elementary School in San Francisco. (Alma mater of notable alumni such as yours truly).

Lawrence Halprin, the architect for Ghirardelli Square, criticized the work for “not being serious.” Which, I am sure, had nothing to do with the fact that Asawa’s design was picked over Halprin’s.

Asawa responded to Halprin’s critique by saying: ‘For the old it would bring back the fantasy of their childhood, and for the young it would give them something to remember when they grow old! I wanted to make something related to the sea. I thought of all the children, and maybe even some adults, who would stand by the seashore waiting for a turtle or a mermaid to appear. As you look at the sculpture you include the Bay view which was saved for all of us, and you wonder what lies below that surface.’