Shit Fountain

Chicago, Illinois (IL)

Shit Fountain: a fountain in the shape of a shit? Yep, you guessed it!

Discovering Chicago’s Shit Fountain

For years, Shit Fountain was a myth discussed in hushed tones, amongst local Chicagoans. Many people had heard of it, but few knew its exact location, leading to rumours and faked photos. However, we can tell you exactly where to find it, as well as the story behind its creation! But first, what is Shit Fountain?

"It is a nice, average-sized sculpture of a turd with water flowing from it. What more can you ask for?"

An admirer of Shit Fountain.

Shit Fountain 1
- Max Stahl

The Origins of Shit Fountain

"This [work] is dedicated to all the dogs in the neighbourhood."

Creator Jerzy S. Kenar, who owns both the building where the fountain is installed and the neighbouring Wooden Gallery.

Shit Fountain was created by Polish Chicago artist, Jerzy S. Kenar in 2005, to address a common nuisance: dog owners who neglect to clean up after their pets.

Frustrated by the frequent mess-making, East Village residents, including Kenar, had long sought a solution. One resident, Alderman Manuel "Manny" Flores, even distributed "Mutt Mitts" to community groups. As you might have guessed, “Mutt Mitts” are disposable plastic gloves for picking up dog droppings.

"I have flowers in front of the gallery, and someone [will be] walking their dog and the dog is jumping there...and shitting there and someone is not picking it up."

Kenar.

But for Kenar, it was personal; many of these dogs were trampling and defecating on his beloved flowers. Therefore, Shit Fountain emerged as a tongue-in-cheek reminder for dog owners to clean up after, and be mindful of, their pets.

Positioned outside Kenar's private residence, the fountain features a bronze coil of dog faeces atop a 3 ft-high concrete and sandstone pedestal, dribbling water into a shallow basin, resembling a classical Grecian bust. It was revealed by Kenar at his Fourth of July party in 2005, who considered it a light-hearted statement, and in no way confrontational.

Shit Fountain 4
- Eric Allix Rogers

Reactions to Shit Fountain

"We're trying to make this neighbourhood beautiful and he puts up a shit fountain?"

Jeanne Felknor, a resident whose garden club has improved over 150 East Village parkways.

Considering that this was potentially a controversial subject it is no wonder that Jeanne Felknor’s initial response was one of disappointment. However, Felknor later admitted that after she saw the fountain she “laughed all the way home." And that is how the majority of local Chicagoans and visitors have come to view Shit Fountain—as a whimsical statement that is more amusing than offensive.

"It’s funny cause it’s shit, but it’s also kind of like, ‘Well you’re kind of a dick, you should probably clean up after your dog.’"

Devon Kondziela, a local resident.

Since the sculpture sits on Kenar’s private property, the city has not raised any concerns about its presence, allowing it to remain a permanent fixture.

Shit Fountain 2
- dangerismycat

More than Shit Fountain: Jerzy S. Kenar

Jerzy S. Kenar is not only known for Shit Fountain but also for his other public artworks that are more political and religious by nature. These include wooden sculptures at O'Hare Airport, pieces displayed at the Harold Washington Library, and the granite Black History Fountain at Renaissance Park on the South Side. Another example of his more serious artwork would be the holy water font at Loyola University's Madonna della Strada Chapel.

But Kenar’s nearby art studio is where the whimsy and unconventional creativity continues with intriguing works like the “Flying Penis” display and a curved ladder to heaven, demonstrating his tendency to create thought-provoking and unusual art.

Shit Fountain 3
- Neal Patel

Challenges for Shit Fountain

If you are not simply content to snap a selfie with Shit Fountain then why not try out the interactive challenges? Head to 1005 N. Wolcott Avenue, in Chicago’s Ukranian Village to have a go for yourselves! The challenges are as follows:

  • Word Scramble Challenge: Nearby resides another interesting piece of artwork. What would you call someone who cleans out a farm building?
  • Photo Challenge: Find a plastic bag and take a picture of yourself scooping the poop from the fountain.
  • Word Scramble Challenge: If you had to clean out poop this size from a farm building, what might you be called? A hint is to look at the corner and to the heavens.

Make sure to complete each of the three challenges in the app.

Exploring the Neighbourhood

While the Shit Fountain might be one of the more interesting albeit offbeat attractions in Ukrainian Village, the neighbourhood itself is rich with history and culture. Visitors can try out the local restaurants, cafes, and shops, or perhaps even drop by Kenar's studio if it’s open.

Another interesting fountain in Chicago is the Buckingham Fountain, why not pay it a visit?!

Shit Fountain
- Max Stahl

Interested in finding more places like this? Try one of our Chicago Scavenger Hunts - untangle cryptic clues as a team, as you are taken on a journey to the most unique, unusual and bizarre corners of Chicago and beyond!

Shit Fountain Questions

Information

What you need to know

Name
Shit Fountain
Address
1001 N Wolcott Ave, Between Thomas St & Augusta Blvd, Chicago, IL 60622-5998
Location
41.899731, -87.674438
Tips before you visit

If you're walking your dog, make sure to bring your own doggy poo bags so as not to get on the wrong side of the local artist, because that might be a bit ‘shit’!

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