Two new public art projects in downtown Kansas City sound a bit like the names of emo rock bands: Pedestrian Strands and Celestial Flyways. But they're both a sign of the changing times in the downtown loop and a shifting approach to public space.
Kansas City, MO – Celestial Flyways, at Oppenstein Brothers Memorial Park, a pocket park at 12th and Walnut, marks the third project for Art in the Loop. The nonprofit awards commissions in the downtown loop to artists with ties to the Kansas City Art Institute. Artist Laura DeAngelis, a 1995 KCAI graduate, was awarded the commission in October 2006 and led the creative team with Dominique Davison, Davison Architecture + Urban Design, astronomy historian James E. Morris, artist Peregrine Honig, engineers, and fabricators.
The public art project, Pedestrian Strands, includes guardrail panels of glass and mesh on four downtown bridges that span I-670. They're safety rails but, according to architect David Dowell, provide a way of reconnecting areas severed by the highway. The project continued the collaboration between Dowell, of eldorado architects, and artist Jim Woodfill, and it was also a partnership between more than a handful of state and city organizations.