Huron & Fifth

Stopped. Watched. icon

More than 250 gather to celebrate the dedication of the Dreiseitl fountain. [photo] In his remarks, he makes clear that having children interact in the fountain is part of the concept. Immediately after the water begins to flow and the lights are on, a number of children take him at his word. [photo] [photo] Overheard conversations are all positive, excited, and very impressed. [photo]

» Want more items like this one? Visit the Stopped. Watched. page.


  1. By TJ
    October 4, 2011 at 10:18 pm | permalink

    My children were among those interacting – they are hoping that the city continues to allow this, long after Mr Dreiseitl leaves the venue!

  2. By Linda Diane Feldt
    October 4, 2011 at 10:26 pm | permalink

    I will confess that I was partly motivated by that same sentiment when I wrote this stopped watched, emphasizing the artist sanctioned kid participation. The Ann Arbor Chronicle is about documenting public meetings and events. Dreiseitl made the statement in public, and it is now part of the record in case anyone comes back to challenge kids being in the fountain in the future. I was told by another photographer that he had photos of Dreiseitl himself playing in the fountain on Sunday, very much like the kids were tonight.
    The bronze pieces in the spillway turned into stepping stones for the kids running up and down the waterway. This is a durable piece of art ready to have interaction. Even my dog stepped into the water and took a small drink.

  3. By Mary Morgan
    October 4, 2011 at 11:29 pm | permalink

    LD, thanks for adding this to the public record! When I emerged from the planning commission meeting at about 10 p.m., all was empty and dark again – water and lights turned off. It was cool to see the plaza full of people earlier in the evening. Hope it’s not the one and only time that happens.

  4. By johnboy
    October 5, 2011 at 5:52 am | permalink

    It is my understanding that the water in this “piece of art” is rain water from the roof. That is dirty rain water from the roof. Think pigeons. And children are playing in the dirty water and dogs are drinking from the dirty water? Gives me a vision lawsuit lawyers rubbing their hands together.

  5. By Linda Diane Feldt
    October 5, 2011 at 8:30 am | permalink

    There is a filtering system in place as part of the design. That is kind of the whole point of the installation, highlighting the beneficial use of storm water. Someone else can go into the technical details of how it is done on this site, but Johnboy’s comment is a great example of how the details of this project never really penetrated to the general public. That includes where the money was spent (3/4 went to local collaborators) and why this is so unique (incorporating storm water into an artistic water feature). As well as the timing – initiated well before the economy took a turn for the worse.
    I don’t think it is drinkable, but the rain garden and cistern system was designed by intelligent thoughtful people with exactly that concern in mind. The water is both attractive and safe, and so demonstrates some important ideas about conservation and reuse.

  6. October 5, 2011 at 9:09 am | permalink

    Are those of us who are children at heart allowed to play in the fountain too?

  7. October 5, 2011 at 9:31 am | permalink

    I believe the question of who is allowed to play in the fountain is one best settled with a series of public information sessions, followed by focus groups, an online survey, a city council working session, culminating in a formal public hearing on a “Fountain Ordinance” and a vote by the city council, which should be postponed several times, but ultimately would include the establishment of a Fountain Play Licensing Board, which would issue non-transferable, revokable licenses to people who want to play in the fountain. There would be an essay portion on the license application to allow for adults to provide evidence that they are “children at heart,” and the Licensing Board would then make a determination.

    But you know, Ben, it’s not like I’ve thought this through in any kind of detail, so there could be problems with that approach that weren’t immediately apparent to me.

  8. By Linda Diane Feldt
    October 5, 2011 at 10:02 am | permalink

    from wikipedia, on play: [link]

    “Play is a term employed in ethology and psychology to describe to a range of voluntary, intrinsically motivated activities normally associated with pleasure and enjoyment.[1] Play is commonly associated with children, but positive psychology has stressed that play is imperative for all higher-functioning animals, even adult humans.”
    “Some play has clearly defined goals and when structured with rules is called a game, whereas, other play exhibits no such goals nor rules and is considered to be “unstructured” in the literature. Play promotes broaden and build behaviors as well as mental states of happiness – including flow.”

    There are even different types of play, creating different positive brain and body changes. I’d rather ask, how can we get everyone to play in the fountain? Especially people who comment on on-line news.

  9. By cosmonıcan
    October 5, 2011 at 10:48 am | permalink

    Can anyone say “Whale?” How about “Arborland?”

  10. By TJ
    October 5, 2011 at 11:20 am | permalink

    On a side note, does this sculpture / water feature / fountain have a name other than “the Dreiseitl fountain”?

  11. October 5, 2011 at 1:00 pm | permalink

    ArborUpdate memorial meetup, in the fountain? Any takers?

  12. By abc
    October 5, 2011 at 3:39 pm | permalink

    With or without clothing?

  13. October 5, 2011 at 4:21 pm | permalink

    If the second, presumably only anonymous posters will participate.

  14. By Beth Manuel
    October 6, 2011 at 12:17 pm | permalink

    I look forward to the application process of the Fountain Play Licensing Board. Perhaps a medical examination will be necessary to prove one’s heart is still like that of a child’s? If so, I’m not sure I want to be on a public list of that nature.