public art

Julie Denesha / KCUR

The air was crisp and the sun was high Friday afternoon as a small group of people assembled in the amphitheater at the athletic fields at 9th and Van Brunt in Kansas City, Mo. They’d come by bus to hear artist José Faus say a few words about his new mural, “The Sun and the Moon Dream of Each Other,” one of two new murals commissioned over the summer by the MAPIT, Mural Arts Program Inspiring Transformation.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

The grass was still damp from overnight rains in Washington Square Park Tuesday morning as sculptor Will Vannerson stepped away from a section of the galvanized sculptural work called "Moon Garden."

After Vannerson lifted the work from the bed of a pickup truck, he said wanted to get a broader view of the large, silvery tubes in the context of the park’s landscape.

courtesy of the artist

If you’ve driven through downtown Kansas City recently, you’ve probably seen the orange cones from the streetcar construction. But what about that blue petticoat at the top of a street sign, or the brightly colored quilts wrapped around bus shelters? 

Art installations and performances return this summer to Kansas City's downtown loop. 

"Everyone get in their starting positions," calls out dancer Maura Garcia, as she shakes a rattle. 

Courtesy photo / ArtsKC

Update: This story was updated on July 17.

Harlan Brownlee, the president and CEO of ArtsKC, has announced his resignation, effective at the end of July.

ArtsKC named Susan Stanton, a longtime non-profit interim leader, to serve as interim president. The organization will begin a national search for Brownlee’s successor.

courtesy: Municipal Art Commission

For two decades, the public artwork Modern Communication has caused controversy in front of Kansas city's police and fire department downtown. A bronze businessman stands on a briefcase – he has a shoe in his mouth, fingers in his ears, and a tie flapping across his eyes. 

Courtesy of Phil 'Sike Style' Shafer

In a departure from the predictable journalistic exercise of looking back on the year that’s about to end, we decided to ask various people in Kansas City’s turbocharged arts community what they’d like to see happen, artistically or otherwise, in the metro in 2015. In their responses, themes emerged – as did random cool ideas.

Here, in no particular order, are 15 things local culture makers wish Kansas City would do in 2015:

Julie Denesha / KCUR

In our Beyond Our Borders story on arts and the state line in the Kansas City area, artists and leaders of arts organizations said they believed that the boundary isn't much of a barrier when it comes to the metro's cultural landscape — artists and audiences enthusiastically cross the state line for all sorts of cultural events.

courtesy: Zahner

Sky Stations are the shiny, space-age sculptures on top of Bartle Hall (more commonly called "hair curlers").

Twenty years ago this week, a helicopter hovered overhead to place the four steel and aluminum sculptures atop 300-foot concrete pylons in a public art installation that closed the downtown streets in Kansas City, Mo.

New York-based artist R.M. Fischer reflects on Sky Stations 20 years later: 

CJ Janovy / KCUR

The Kansas City Parks & Recreation Department celebrated the opening of Soccer Village on Friday. In addition to pristine practice fields with perfect synthetic grass and a natural-grass championship field with grandstands that seat 1,500 people, there’s also a sculpture, thanks to the city’s One Percent for Art Program.

The artist, Jake Balcom, installed the work last week with help from two friends, Spencer Schubert, also a local sculptor, and musician Brent Jamison.

courtesy of the artist

More than 200 cities across the United States have a percent-for-art ordinance, calling for a portion of construction project budgets to be set aside for public art.

Kansas City's one percent for art ordinance has been in effect since 1986. The first installation: "Bull Wall" by Kansas City native Robert Morris in the West Bottoms in 1992.

Charvex / Wikimedia Commons

As part of KCUR's Beyond Our Borders series, Central Standard met with a handful of residents of Kansas City's historic Northeast to hear about the people and projects shaping the future of that part of town. In particular, artist Hector Casanova told us about his project working with students to transform a boarded-up old school building in the neighborhood by treating its surfaces as a giant canvas.

Josh Ferdinand / Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art

If you’ve walked or driven by the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art recently you’ve probably noticed a flurry of activity on the southeast corner of the grassy lawn. Work is underway to ready the site for the installation of a new sculpture, Glass Labyrinth, a triangular-shaped, glass-walled labyrinth designed by artist Robert Morris, a native of Kansas City, Mo.

brx0 / Flickr--CC

The city of Kansas City, Mo., will commission $100,000 of public art for the first phase of the streetcar line, and has announced a request for proposals. 

In a release Friday, the city said it is looking for professional artists or artist-led teams to create proposals for art projects to be displayed at selected streetcar stops. The release says while all proposals will be considered, the city is looking for ideas that integrate the artwork into the infrastructure of the stops.

Julie Denesha / KCUR

At Kansas City International Airport, Air Canada, US Airways and United are moving to Terminal C, and Terminal A is expected to close on Jan. 9, 2014. But what does this mean for the public artwork - inside and outside the terminal?

Julie Denesha / KCUR

In January, the Mayor’s Task Force for the Arts launched a series of meetings - at community centers, nature centers, libraries and other venues - to try to map out a vision for Kansas City’s arts and cultural policy.

courtesy of el dorado, inc.

A landscaped roof at 12th and Walnut, in the Power & Light District of downtown Kansas City, is now an art space and community focal point with the addition of a new sculpture called “Prairie Logic."

Flickr user BSevett

A grand jury may decide the fate of a life-sized bronze sculpture at the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.

Tomeka Weatherspoon

The Crown Center Fountains may be off limits, but there's a hammock with your name on it downtown. 

Courtesy of the artist

Johnson County launched its one percent for art program in 2007. This means that one percent of the budget of a new major capital project is set aside for public art.

Prompted by a recent visit to the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens with her family, an area resident has started circulating a petition to remove one of the sculptures. The work is called "Accept or Reject" (note: a brass plaque also lists the title as "Choice") by sculptor 余畅 Yu Chang, an artist who also reportedly directs the Guangzhou Sculpture Academy. Overland Park officials say that, at this time, there are no plans to remove it from the Arboretum.

photo: Laura Spencer/KCUR

Parking garages in Kansas City are infused with art - from the light and sound work called Pulse, next to City Hall; to the dancing lights in the underground garage at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art from a reflecting pool overhead. In the new parking garage at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, there's a public art installation activated by movement.

photo: Laura Spencer/KCUR

On the grassy lawn near the Federal Reserve Bank in Kansas City, trucks are hauling cargo shipping containers to be unloaded and stacked into a towering, temporary sculpture. One hundred and five containers, piled almost seven stories high, will spell out IOU on one side and USA on the other. It's a nod to this country's increasing federal budget and foreign trade deficits.