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Bloomingpedia:This week's featured article/2006

From Bloomingpedia

The following is a list of articles that have been featured on the front page. There is also a list of proposed future articles.


Week 52 - (December 25th - December 31st)

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Showers Brothers Furniture was started in 1868 when William and James Showers bought out their father's interest in a Bloomington cabinetmaking business for $300. From this humble beginning, the Showers Brothers Company would grow to the point that in the 1920s, it produced 60 percent of the furniture manufactured in the U.S., claiming distinction as “The World’s Largest Furniture Factory.”

Little is known about the origins of the Showers family business. Charles Showers, a preacher and cabinetmaker, came to Bloomington sometime in the mid 1850s. He opened a furniture and coffin-making shop on the Bloomington downtown square shortly afterwards. At some point, Charles' sons, William and James, bought out their father's interest in the business for $300 and moved the business to a new store on Ninth and Grant Streets when neighbors complained about the noise from the shop.

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Week 51 - (December 18th - December 24th)

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U Club was a locally-owned upscale casual restuarant located at 254 N. Walnut Street. It was opened in October 2005 by business partners Mark Gilcrest and Peter Dvorak. It closed in December 2006 While the name suggested a sports bar, unlike its contemporary nearby Scotty's Brewhouse, the U Club atmosphere was more akin to Tutto Bene and Grazie!. Dress was casual and reservations were accepted.

The Bloomington U Club was the second location, after the original restaurant was opened at Ball State. The original restaurant was spun off and is no longer affiliated with the current U Club LLC. The owners intended to open other locations in the region.

Mark Gilcrest has ties to Bloomington, though he is a Chicago native. His parents were both native Hoosiers and went to school at Indiana University. They were also married in Bloomington. Gilcrest still maintains a home in Bloomington as well as Chicago.

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Week 50 - (December 11th - December 17th)

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Ladyman's Cafe is a small restaurant that opened on Kirkwood Avenue in 1957 in it's current location. It's known for it's simple, home-cooked meals and fresh-baked pies. The resturant closed on December 10th, 2006.

The restaurant was originally opened by Ted Ladyman, who has worked there throughout its existence. His sons Mike and Ted have also helped administer the restaurant during the 80s and 90s. In 2002, Ladyman sold the restaurant to longtime waitress, Dana Reynolds and Stewart Coe. He remained working in the restaurant as a cook after it sold. He worked alongside cook Jack Covert, who has also been working in the restuarant since it opened.

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Week 49 - (December 4th - December 10th)

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The John Waldron Arts Center, at 122 S. Walnut Street serves as the home and epicenter of the Bloomington Area Arts Council. The Center was initially constructed in 1992. The center provides space for musical and dramatic performances, gallery exhibitions and classes.

The Beaux Arts style building at the corner of Fourth and Walnut Streets was erected in 1915. It was originally used as the Bloomington City Hall until 1965 when the Bloomington Police Department moved in. The BPD moved out of the building in 1985, leaving it virtually vacant for five years. One tenant, the Bloomington Fire Department, used the south side of the 2nd floor as dormitory space for firefighters in the adjacent fire station.

After several failed attempts at the creation of an area arts center, the Bloomington Area Arts Council was finally able to raise the money necessary to renovate the old City Hall Building in 1990. The fundraising effort received a tremendous boost through the initially anonymous donation of $375,000 to the project by Cecile Waldron. In gratitude for the donation, the BAAC named the building after John Waldron, a prominent city politician in the 1800s and great-grandfather to Cecile Waldron's husband, Charles. The City of Bloomington handed over the deed to the property to the BAAC in a ceremony on July 31, 1990 at the Fountain Square atrium. The BAAC compaign coordinator was Evelyn Powers.


Week 48 - (November 27th - December 3rd)

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Aver's Pizza is a locally owned and operated take-out and delivery pizza establishment which produces a variety of creative and original pizzas. Aver's was started on October 25th, 1995 by Brad Randall and Kris Kaiser, and was financed by cash advances on credit cards and donations from family members. In the beginning, the two worked long hours by themselves to get lunch and dinner business. An ad in the Bloomington Voice in December 1995 got the ball rolling.

A 'topping of the week' campaign, which later evolved into the 'pizza of the week' campaign utilized some unusual and creative ingredients such as red potatoes and baby clams. While this campaign is no longer active, some of the better creations that came out of it are still on the menu today.

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Week 47 - (November 20th - November 26th)

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Tutto Bene, meaning everything is good in Italian, is the namesake of Bloomington's only wine cafe located at 213 S. Rogers Street. The cafe, housed in a refurbished frozen foods warehouse, has an open seating concept that includes couches, coffee tables, and partitions making it very flexible while hosting musical performances and art exhibitions.

At any one time, approximately 30 wines were offered by the glass ranging in price from $5 to $11 per glass; there are hundreds of more options offered by the bottle. Tutto Bene's food selection is influenced by multiple international cuisines and makes use of the most local farms and local food distributors of any restaurant in Bloomington. The food is served in the tapas style (small plates) accompanied by fresh baked bread from Bloomington's City Bakery. The cafe also offers a wide selection of specialty coffee drinks, desserts, and dessert wines.

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Week 46 - (November 13th - November 19th)

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The Community Bike Project is a program to provide bicycles for people in the city. Volunteers direct an open public workshop, where community members have free access to tools and miscellaneous bike parts. Donations and new volunteers are always welcome and greatly appreciated.

A bicycle project for Bloomington was first envisioned by members of the Center for Sustainable Living in 1997. Charles Hammond, Youth Bicycle Education Network member and founder of the Bicycle Action Project (Indianapolis), was invited to present to CSL members about Youth Bicycle Education. He offered to make used bikes available to the Center if they chose to start a bicycle project. In the spring of 1998 Larry Mongin, Christine Glaser and two other CSL members began research for the bike project, including a visit to the Bicycle Action Project.

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Week 45 - (November 6th - November 12th)

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The Indiana University Computer Gaming Club (IUCGC), an official student organization of Indiana University, was founded by Jonny Sweeny and Andy Jones in the Spring of 2000. The first LAN War was 18-19 November 2000 and the most recent one was November 4-5, 2006. Currently, the IUCGC has over 650 members participating in events year-round. Elections for club officers occur each April.

The club is best known for their semi-annual LAN Wars. These events attract 150+ gamers from all over Indiana and the Midwest. There are typically five formal tournaments and thousands of dollars worth of prizes from several notable companies. A free dinner is always provided at the event.

Most recently due to the length of the events, (typically over 27 hours long) the LAN War now hosts a Twinkie eating contest. This event is a means to give people a break from their computer games while still providing entertainment. Eight to ten people are given a 12oz. drink and 1 dozen Twinkies. The person that finishes their Twinkies first win a prize.

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Week 44 - (October 30th - November 5th)

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The Monroe County Public Library is the public library serving residents of Monroe County and the surrounding communities. It has branches in Bloomington and Ellettsville, as well as a Bookmobile and homebound service. The MCPL also hosts office space for HoosierNet, Inc., a local internet service provider. The library also hosts meetings for various organizations in Bloomington, such as the Bloomington Linux Users Group. The main branch is located on Kirkwood Avenue at 303 E. Kirkwood Avenue, between Lincoln Street and Grant Street. The Ellettsville branch is located at 600 W. Temperance Street, at the intersection of Temperance and Sale Street.

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Week 43 - (October 23rd - October 29th)

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Peoples Park is a 1/3 acre park formed when land was donated on December 17, 1976. It is located at the intersection of Kirkwood Avenue and Dunn Street.

In the late 1970's and early 1980's, various landscaping improvements and site amenities were installed at the park. In 1994, as a result of meetings with business owners, citizens and park users concerned about park safety and cleaniness, park site amenities were replaced. The locations of benches and tables were changed, additional lighting installed, exposed aggregate sidewalks were repaired, and additional trash receptacles and ash urns were placed. In keeping with the tradtion of the park as a gathering place for socialization, and due to limited capital improvment funds, no other significant improvements of physical changes have occurred in the park's 20-year history.

In 1995, a partnership with Rhino's All-Ages Music Club resulted in the construction of a mural wall, allowing club members the opportunity to display artwork in the park. In addition, seasonal outdoor concerts were held in the park. Both programmatic initiatives have been successful and well received by the public and park users.

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Week 42 - (October 16th - October 22nd)

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Monroe County Civic Theater, a not-for-profit community theater, aims to bring quality theater to Monroe County and surrounding areas and to provide experience in all aspects of theater production to all interested persons. The curtain rose on MCCT's first production on September 12th, 1986. 2006 is their twentieth season, which began with their eighty-eighth production.

They have presented plays from many centuries; from Greek and Medieval plays to modern times, including Shakespeare, Molière, Racine, Tom Taylor, Gilbert and Sullivan, Checkov, Shaw, Wilde, Ibsen, Coward, Tennessee Williams, Arthur Miller, Sondheim, Bram Stoker, and ten children's plays.

They have performed at the Waldron Arts Center, the Bloomington Playwrights Project, Harmony School (outdoors and indoors), Karst Farm Park, the Monroe County Public Library auditorium, the Monroe County Historical Society Museum, Rhino's All-Ages Music Club, the Irish Lion, and various schools and health care centers in Monroe County, and have recently branched out to perform in Spencer as well.

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Week 41 - (October 7th - October 15th)

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Lee Williams is a co-founder of the Lotus World Music and Arts Festival. He started DJ'ing at Bullwinkle's nightclub in the late 70's and helped co-found the Second Story live music venue above Bull's. He worked as the booking manager at Second Story for a year, then went on to book for Jake's. In 1994, he, along with James Combs and Shahyar Daneshgar, helped organize the original Lotus Festival. He is currently the Executive Director/Artistic Director of the festival.

Born in New Albany, Indiana, Williams' family moved around a lot when his Air Force father was re-assigned. He credits his varied experiences in other cultures with his passion for diverse world music.

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Week 40 - (October 2nd - October 8th)

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U Club is a locally-owned upscale casual restuarant located at 254 N. Walnut Street. It was opened in October 2005 by business partners Mark Gilcrest and Peter Dvorak. While the name suggests a sports bar, unlike nearby Scotty's Brewhouse, the U Club atmosphere is more akin to Tutto Bene and Grazie!. Dress is casual and reservations are accepted.

The Bloomington U Club is the second location, after the original restaurant was opened at Ball State. The original restaurant was spun off and is no longer affiliated with the current U Club LLC. The owners intend to open other locations in the region.

Mark Gilcrest has ties to Bloomington, though he is a Chicago native. His parents were both native Hoosiers and went to school at Indiana University. They were also married in Bloomington. Gilcrest still maintains a home in Bloomington as well as Chicago.

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Week 39 - (September 25th - October 1st)

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Elkinsville is a small town approximately 45 minutes' drive from Bloomington. Most of the town was destroyed in 1964 when the US Army Corp claimed most of the town's land as a floodplain for the new Lake Monroe Reservoir. All farms up to 560 feet above sea level were claimed, though Elkinsville still has residents today. In addition to homesteads, the government razed the church, two one-room school houses, a blacksmith shop, a mechanic's garage and a general store. Former Elkinsville residents have been gathering annually since 1987 in current resident Bill Miller's backyard.

Located off the main Elkinsville road is the cemetary where many of the town's longtime residents and their families are laid to rest. Easily accessible via Elkinsville Cemetary Road, it has a covered picnic area as well as a rudimentary restroom maintained by volunteers. There are close to 150 gravestone markers, some dating back to the mid-1800s.

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Week 38 - (September 18th - September 24th)

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The Runcible Spoon is an eclectic coffee house on Sixth Street near Indiana University. Serving gourmet coffee and full meal service, the "Spoon" has been a longtime favorite of University students and local residents. They are known throughout the area to have a bathroom with a fishbowl in the bathtub. The name, Runcible Spoon, comes from a children's story about love, adventure, nature, and whimsy: "They dined on mince, and slices of quince, Which they ate with a runcible spoon." Elements from the story and the main characters, the owl and the pussycat, are evident throughout the restaurant's decor.

The Runcible Spoon was opened in 1976 by an IU Ph.D student, Jeff Danielson. It occupied part of the first floor of its current location.

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Week 37 - (September 11th - September 17th)

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The Bakehouse has two locations in Bloomington. The main location, located at the southwest corner of 6th and Walnut on the downtown square, provides fresh baked bread on a daily basis. A second location on State Road 46 near the College Mall provides an extension of the deli and bagel service of the main location.

The main Bakehouse location at the corner of 6th and Walnut was opened by one the co-owners of Michael's Uptown Cafe in 1995. Strats Stratigios and Michael Cassady aimed to capitalize on a grown trend in the mid 90s toward providing fresh-baked breads. After spending years at Michael's trying to develop good bread recipes, the owners reached out to Bloomington cookbook author Bernard Clayton Jr..

With a license from the Rock Hill Consulting Firm in upstate New York, the Bakehouse brought an artisanal bakery to Bloomington. In May of 1995, the Bakehouse purchased a $55,000, 18,000 pound Fringard oven. It is gas fired, using bricks to retain the heat at a constant temperature. The oven was purchased direct from France and took two weeks to install. Prior to the Bakehouse's opening, Michael London, one of the founders of the Rock Hill Consulting Firm, trained the future staff.

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Week 36 - (September 4th - September 10th)

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The Cereal Barn & Peanut Butter Cafe is located in the old Bazaar Cafe location (on 6th Street next to the Runcible Spoon. The Cereal Barn is designed to offer unlimited meal and light snack options for adults, families, students and everyone young at heart. The Cereal Barn is here to offer fun, good, meals and snacks in a bright, relaxed and enjoyable atmosphere with every attention paid to YOU the customer. Fresh, Healthy, Good Tasting, Quality Products all served at a reasonable price in a fast but friendly manner.

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Week 35 - (August 28st - September 3rd)

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Janko's Little Zagreb is a locally-owned steakhouse on 6th Street. Opened in 1972, the restaurant's small menu is focused on steak and it's usual accompaniments. The restaurant was initially known as the "Choo-Choo Cafe" in reference to the nearby railroad track. It initially served Yugoslavian and Eastern European cuisine, but later focused on beef. It is well known outside Bloomington and has a reputation for serving the best steak in town. The name of the restaurant comes from a nickname that the John Pouch's Croatian immigrant grandmother had for him. Zagreb is the capital of Croatia. The restuarant was initially owned by John Pouch's brother, Jeff, with John supplying the beef.

A longtime favorite of local celebrities John Mellencamp and Bobby Knight, the IU Athletics department brings a lot of their recruits to Janko's. Singer Billy Joel was quoted by the Herald Times in an interview with Mike Leonard in 1990

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Week 34 - (August 21st - August 27th)

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The Game Preserve caters to a wide variety of entertainment styles. They stock a trove of role playing games, classic board games, and miniatures, as well as family games and puzzles. Games in progress can frequently be witnessed right in the store; one might even catch a demo of a new or upcomming release. The Game Preserve is a regional chain of game stores based out of Indianapolis. The first store opened in the Fashion Mall at Keystone at the Crossing in Indianapolis on October 1, 1980. They currently have four locations: two in Indianapolis, one in West Lafayette and the Bloomington store.

They are located on the south end of the courthouse square in Fountain Square Mall right on Kirkwood. They also run a game room, also known as The Dungeon in the basement of Fountain Square, just to the right as you exit the glass elevator.

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Week 33 - (August 14th - August 20th)

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The Bloomington Playwrights Project is a successful not-for-profit arts organization dedicated to the furthering of new original plays and theatre. They produce original shows, hold playwriting contests and act as a resource for the entire community by offering innovative programs and classes. Over time the BPP has surmounted financial challenges through generous donations from friendly community and corporate sponsors. They enlist help from enthusiastic volunteers. At times dramatic, mysterious, comic or heartwarming, the BPP continues to grow and delight audiences with its original, innovative, educational and thoroughly enjoyable theatrical endeavors.


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Week 32 - (August 7th - August 13th)

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Windfall Dancers was founded in 1978 as a modern dance collective under the direction of Debbie Knapp. She and four others, Liz Monnier, Cindy Clark, Jackie Shilling Pullano and France Knable, presented their first concert in 1977. Windfall Dancers became incorporated as a 501(c) 3 not-for-profit organization the following year. The company was founded on the principles of creative exploration in movement and worked to cultivate a thriving dance community in Bloomington. As part of this mission, the Windfall School of Dance was also formed in 1978. Throughout its history, classes have been taught in all types of dance and styles of movement.

The company thrived for the next six years, but then disbanded in 1985. The school of dance persisted during the company's hiatus and continued to flourish. In 1987 the Windfall Youth Ensemble was formed as a forum for young dancers to choreograph and perform. A year later, in 1988, Windfall Dancers became active once again

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Week 31 - (July 31th - August 6th)

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The Indiana University Global Research Network Operations Center (GRNOC) provides network design and monitoring services to most of the major US Research and Education (R&E) networks. The GRNOC is comprised of two major components, engineering and the operations center. The engineering staff has support and design responsibilities to GRNOC managed networks, while the operations center provides 24x7 monitoring and call center responsibilities. Engineering is staffed betwee 8 and 5 on the weekdays, but provides after hours support on a rotational basis.

The heart of the GRNOC is housed at IUPUI in the ICTC bulding. It houses the 24x7x365 call center that's staffed by NOC operations staff. There is also a smaller group of engineers near the NOC in the same building. The bulk of the engineering staff is housed in Bloomington at the Communications Services Building at 10th Street and the 45/46 Bypass. The two engineering groups are kept in constant contact through a constant HDTV video teleconference stream between campuses.

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Week 30 - (July 24th - July 30th)

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The Jacobs School of Music - As one of the most comprehensive and acclaimed institutions for the study of music, the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music plays a key role in educating performers, scholars, and music educators who influence music performance and education around the globe. The more than 1,600 students who study at the Jacobs School benefit from the intensity and focus of a conservatory combined with the broad academic offerings of a major university. The more than 150 full-time faculty members in residence at the Jacobs School include performers, scholars, and teachers of international renown. In addition, many top musicians and scholars come to the school each year to give master classes and guest lectures or to serve as visiting artistic directors, conductors, and faculty.

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Week 29 - (July 17th - July 23rd)

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Eigenmann Hall, currently officially known now as Eigenmann Residence Center, is a 14 story dormitory on the Indiana University campus located at 1900 E. 10th Street. It was built in the 1960s and is one of the tallest buildings in Bloomington. It is named for Carl Eigenmann, a famous icthyologist. Eigenmann has four wings. The wing of each floor connects at an open common area with 4 elevators. For a long period of time, Eigenmann Hall was a hot spot for international students. Because it housed most of the international students who lived on campus, it was the only dorm that was open year round including during all school breaks. At one point, students from over 100 different countries speaking over 40 different languages lived there. Some adventurous Americans lived there for the experience of having neighbors from many different cultures living on your floor. It was also a popular spot for graduate students. It was the melting pot of Bloomington.

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Week 28 - (July 10rd - July 16th)

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Caveat Emptor is a used bookstore located at 112 W. Walnut Street, on the east side of the courthouse square. The staff tends to be helpful and enthusiastic about helping any customer find a book they might have stashed away somewhere in their overflowing collection of tomes. Their collection is very eclectic, containing books of fiction and non-fiction from a plethora of genres, and most books are for sale at a cost much lower than the same books would be new. Many out-of-print works or other rare volumes can be found amongst the horde. Caveat Emptor was Bloomington's first used book store. It got started sharing a building with a copying company, moved briefly to a location on Dunn Street, and finally came to rest at its current location on the courthouse square. At first the store had a comic book counter, which still exists today in the form of Vintage Phoenix. The store also used to carry records, which were dropped. They do, however, have a collection of used CDs in addition to the myriads of used books.

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Week 27 - (July 3rd - July 9th)

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Originally started by former General Motors parts and service employee Howard Canada as a retirement project, Howard's Bookstore became a staple business on the Bloomington downtown square. Operated for 22 years by Jane and Howard Canada, the store specializes in special orders, children's books, and local southern Indiana history.

Over the years it occupied four locations adjacent to the Monroe County Courthouse. It started out in the old Allen Building, but moved to the south side of the square shortly afterwards. In 1987 it moved to the Kresge Building, owned by Bloomington attorney Ken Nunn, when CFC, Inc. began renovating the Fountain Square Mall. When Kresge building rents increased in 1992, Howard Canada made the decision to move back to the now-renovated Fountain Square Mall into virtually the same space the storefront had occupied before.

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Week 26 - (June 26th - July 2nd)

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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. Wikipedia article discussing the origin of Venus and the symbology of the clamshell.

The ledge surrounding the fountain is a favorite spot for students to sit, read and wait for their next class.

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