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
Mark is a Project Manager in the JCPRD Planning & Development Department. Mark received his Master’s in Public Administration from UMKC in 2014, and has worked with agencies across the metro on housing, transit, regional cooperation, and economic development. Mark is a daily crosser of the state-line, and true fan of the art, culture, and meaningful public spaces that enrich quality of life in our metro. Mark believes access to art is not simply an amenity, but a powerful driver of personal wellness, public health, and community connection.
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.
Megan Garrett is a Project Manager for the Johnson County Park and Recreation District. Her 16 years with JCPRD has been focused on bringing master plans and public input to reality. Megan received her BLA from the University of Oregon in 2002 and while focused on Landscape Architecture, her passion for the natural world, architectural history, ceramics, and watercolor shine through her portfolio of projects. Megan managed both the master plan process and park development of Big Bull Creek Park, a 2,000 acre park in SW Johnson County in 2016. Megan’s eye towards art and place are visible on her Kill Creek Park Observation Deck, perched over an endangered prairie. Thousands of children enjoy creative playgrounds Megan placed across Johnson County for the enjoyment of all residents. She lives in Lenexa, KS with her husband, stepson, and enjoys bicycle touring in the Flint Hills.
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.
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
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.