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Showalter Fountain is the centerpiece of the Fine Arts Square; around which reside the Auditorium, the School of Fine Arts and the Lilly Library. Funded by Grace Montgomery Showalter, the sculpture of the goddess Venus being born from a clam shell was designed by former IU faculty member Robert Laurent.
The ledge surrounding the fountain is a favorite spot for students to sit, read and wait for their next class.
The fountain has an array of dolphins frolicking around Venus, despite their very fish-like tails. The fish pictured on this page stands out from the others in form and appearance. It was originally cast as a spare to have on hand in case one of the regular fish was ever damaged or lost. The odd fish is indeed in place now as the original fish is no longer with us.
A mythical story that has been passed down by students over the years is that Venus will be born the day that a virgin graduates from IU.
- Many protests have been held around this fountain including some famous ones during the Vietnam War.
- On the night of coach Bobby Knight's firing from the university, the students gathered at the fountain to protest the University's decision.
- On the morning of May 6th, 2013, the day after graduation, two of the fish were removed again in an attempt to steal them.
- This selfsame fish has been removed at least one other time, perhaps more. It's common to be removed when the IU mens basketball team wins a National Championship title
- Early in the spring it is common for someone to put laundry detergent in the fountain and let it bubble up. The bubbles usually fill the fountain.
- One tradition of graduation from Indiana University is to go over to the fountain, take off your gown and clothes and stand or bathe in the fountain completely naked.