Public Art Committee
Meet the Public Art Committee for JCPRD! Together we are working toward experiences that will bring you in touch with local artists in Johnson County and the Kansas City metro.
Get to Know Us
Anne attended the University of Kansas and the University of Kansas School of Law. She practiced law in Kansas City for 12 years, specializing in estate planning, employee benefits, and tax law, and recently served as the Executive Director of the Blue Valley Educational Foundation for 6 years. Anne currently chairs the Leawood Arts Council and serves on the board of directors of the Johnson County Library Foundation as Treasurer. She also serves as a member of the Advisory Board for the University Honors Program at the University of Kansas. She is the past co-chair of the Community Council of Reach Out and Read Kansas City and is a past board member of the Community Foundation of Johnson County and the Arts Council of Johnson County. Anne and her husband Bill live in Leawood and have two sons.
Bob Carlson, an Overland Park architect, currently serves as a member of the Board of Park and Recreation Commissioners of the Johnson County Park and Recreation District. “Our family moved here 17 years ago based on the strength of the community, schools, and quality of life,” he said. Quality of life issues relating to Johnson County’s built environment are of special interest to Carlson. Carlson has been a licensed architect since 1989. He has more than 30 years of experience as an architect for, as well as a principal in, the firm of DLR Group. He holds both a bachelor of science and a master’s degree in architecture, both from the University of Nebraska, and is a member of the American Institute of Architects, and a LEED - (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) accredited professional.
John L. Gaar, AIA
John Gaar is a lifelong resident of Kansas City growing up in Westwood, KS and benefitting from the local park system from a young age. John’s early exploration in Art lead him to the design professions. He holds a Bachelor of Architecture degree from Kansas State University and is currently a practicing architect with the firm of Finkle Williams Architecture. With over 30 years of experience, John has helped create numerous built envorinments throughout the City which incorporate Art either privately or through local Art Programs. John lives in Leawood, KS with his wife Jean where they raised their two boys Drew and Peter.
Yolonda Guyton is a Project Manager for the Johnson County Park and Recreation District. She grew up in Junction City, KS and received a Bachelor of Science in interior design from Kansas State University. Yolonda has 10 years of design and project management experience. She finds creating environments that positively impact the community incredibly rewarding. She lives in Downtown Overland Park with her fiancé and their German Shepherd.
Carisa McMullen, PLA, ENV SP
Carisa McMullen is the principal and owner of Landworks Studio, a landscape architecture firm located in downtown Olathe, focused on creating timeless places where people want to spend time. Carisa helped initiate the 1 % for Art program in Wichita, Kansas. A graduate of Kansas State University, she has a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture and is licensed to practice in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa. Carisa was recently recognized with the Alton B. Thomas Award by the Prairie Gateway Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects (PGASLA). Carisa’s current and previous board experience includes the Kansas State Board of Technical Professions, Olathe’s Public Art Committee and the Downtown Olathe Business Association Board. Carisa is excited for this opportunity to work with the Johnson County Park and Recreation Department and the community to advocate for public art in the county.
Susan Mong serves as Superintendent of Culture for Johnson County Park and Recreation District (JCPRD). Prior to coming to JCPRD, Susan served as Executive Director of the Johnson County Library Foundation, where she led a 24-member board in fundraising efforts to advance the library collection and literacy programs. She is originally from Omaha, Nebraska but has called Overland Park home for the last 27 years. She holds a master’s degree in Public Administration and a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the University of Kansas. Susan and her husband Grant have been married 25 years and have 3 children, Molly, Mallory and Dillon. She is excited to work with the inaugural members of the Public Art Committee to introduce art into the beautiful park spaces of JPCRD for the first time.
Rodney Riffle, AICP
Rodney Riffle is a project manager for the Johnson County Park and Recreation District. He grew up in Fairway and Prairie Village, KS. His lifelong interest in the arts led Rodney to earning a Master of Landscape Architecture from Kansas State University. He has over 25 years of developing exterior spaces designed to engage and create a positive experience for the user. He lives in the Brookside area and enjoys spending time with his family and exploring the natural and built environments.
Shelly holds a BA and an MA in art and taught at the high school level for 17 years. She spent most of her career at Shawnee Mission East, teaching ceramics and sculpture. Prior to teaching, Shelly had a pottery studio for four years in Santa Fe, as a member of a co-op gallery. Shelly was also had experience as a gallery owner, Craftsmen’s Gallery in Westport. Shelly has served on the Prairie Village Park Board and Tree Board previously, but currently serves on the Prairie Village Arts Council, where she has been appointed and re-appointed since 2010. In her tenure, she has launched the Art of Photography juried exhibition.
Vanessa Vaughn West
Vanessa Vaughn West has leadership responsibility to design and implement the inclusion and diversity strategy at Lathrop GPM law firm. Additionally, Vanessa has served in various community and executive leadership roles with the City of Olathe, UMB Financial Corporation and El Centro, Inc. She also serves as a board director of Starlight Theater, United Community Services of Johnson County and the Lenexa Police Department’s Community Advisory Board. She is fueled by a commitment to human and civil rights, corporate responsibility and to fostering inclusive workplaces.
Whitney Williamson is the registrar of the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art and began her career at the former JCCC Gallery of Art in 2001. Williamson manages all temporary exhibition and permanent collection records, loans and logistics. She oversees the care of the permanent collection and coordinates conservation of major sculptures and artworks. Williamson received an MA in 2005 and a BFA in 2000 in art history from the University of Kansas.