The Storyteller fountain is a sculptural fountain located in the heart of Five Points South in front of the Highlands United Methodist Church where 20th Street South, 11th Court South & Magnolia Avenue converge. With its realistically-depicted fairy tale creatures gathered around storyteller, the fountain has become a popular local landmark.
Since its installation, the sculpture's central figure, with the head of a ram, has been misinterpreted by some as a satanic symbol. Fleming denied any such association in an interview for Fun & Stuff, saying that he intended the figure to have a gentle, peaceful attitude. The homeless community, which sometimes gathers at Five Points South, has christened the figure "Bob", and considers him a kindred spirit.
In June 2007 city workers drained the fountain and painted the interior, below the figures, a bright blue color. No reason has been given publicly for the change, which was harshly criticized by Birmingham News columnist John Archibald. Archibald contacted Fleming about the matter. The artist responded "I guess these days when a city owns a piece of your work it can paint the pedestal whatever color it wants."
On July 2, the city began repainting the fountain's interior black, offering no explanation other than citing their own failure to get approval from the Birmingham Design Review Committee for the change. The following week the fountain was encircled by chain-link fence and a team of conservators from New York City began restoring and preserving the sculptures' bronze patina. Signs on the fence identified the work as a conservation project of the Birmingham Museum of Art.
- "The Storyteller" (June 12, 1998) BhamOnline.com
- Archibald, John (June 24, 2007) "Southside art is singing the blues." Birmingham News.
- "Preserving The Storyteller". (July 11, 2007) The Terminal