The Cooley Memorial Fountain sculptural group on the campus of the University of Michigan will be restored this summer by Building Arts & Conservation at their studio in Saline.
The fountain was a gift to the university by Charles Baird in memory of his childhood friend and colleague Judge Thomas McIntyre Cooley.
Designed in 1940 by celebrated Swedish artist Carl Milles, the cast bronze fountain is also entitled “Sunday Morning in Deep Waters,” and affectionately referred to by students as "Ye Gods and Little Fishes.”
The large central fountain portrays the god Triton as a father cavorting with his sons during an ocean holiday and is surrounded by thirteen smaller fish spouting water.
West Shore Services of Allendale, Michigan, removed the central fountain from its granite base by crane and transported it to the Building Arts & Conservation studio on Tuesday, June 26, 2018. There, conservators will carefully clean, replumb, and reinstate the original finish before it is returned to the Michigan campus in August.
At the university, it has become a tradition for new students wade south (toward the Diag) through the fountain to signify the beginning of their educational journey, and then wade north (toward the Rackham Graduate School) upon graduation to symbolize moving into their professional careers. The fountain plaza project is being overseen by A.Z. Shmina of Brighton, Michigan.