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Why Does Millennium Park's Crown Fountain Look Like This Right Now?

By David Matthews | February 2, 2017 6:01am

DOWNTOWN — Why is Millennium Park's picturesque Crown Fountain covered in plastic tarps? 

It's getting a face-lift. 

City officials said they're upgrading the "technology" on the Michigan Avenue sculptures known for their spitting images of Chicagoans.

The city wouldn't disclose exactly how the fountain is being improved, but the work is a step above the routine maintenance that shuts down the fountain every winter. The city expects to turn the fountain back on around April 15, said Jamey Lundblad, a spokesman for the city's Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. 

The sculptures, a pair of 50-foot-tall video screens showing real Chicagoans spouting water from their mouths, have been a popular attraction at Michigan Avenue and Monroe Street since their 2004 debut.

The fountain was created by the artist Jaume Plensa, who also designed the "Looking Into My Dreams, Awilda" sculpture that came down last year in the park.