Gateway by Amie Jacobsen

Based on the Kansas sunflower, “Gateway” is designed to be not only a striking and dynamic form, but also engaging and interactive. Standing nearly 12 feet tall, multiple brightly colored and shaped petals made of cast class and steel will glow in the sunlight as well as with lighting at night. The center of the flower creates an archway that beckons visitors to walk under the arch. Inside the arch, illustrated panels stretch from the floor up the interior sides, creating a tapestry that represents the history of the area of Meadowbrook Park and Prairie Village. Behind and above the illustrated panels, the rest of the archway will be covered with mirror polished stainless steel that will reflect the visitors below. This represents the present and future of the community, reflecting back at the viewer.

Amie Jacobsen Headshot Opens in new windowbutton_listen-to-an-audio-of-amie-talking-about-the-project-here Opens in new window


Artist Bio

Amie J. Jacobsen is a designer, sculptor and public artist living and working in the Kansas City area. A lifelong creator, she produced work in painting, illustration, and graphic design before transitioning to 3D design and metalworking in 2015. Amie's studio is located in Independence, MO, where she employees three assistants. Together, they produce sculptures, artisan furniture and public art pieces throughout the US.


Contributing Artists

Special thank you to these artists whose contributions were essential to the creation of "Gateway."

Dierk Van Keppel of Rock Cottage Glassworks

Dierk Van Keppel has been immersed in his passion for art since 1981—incorporating the ancient tradition of glassblowing with the modern concept of fusing glass. Upon graduation from the University of Kansas in 1985 with a BGS in Sociology, Dierk went on to study Art Glass at the same university from 1983 to 1987, assisting with lectures and demonstrations with renowned artists including Dale Chilhuly, Stephen D. Edwards, Ken Carder, Fritz Driesbach and Wes Hunting. In 1984, Dierk studied under Richard Marquis and Therman Statom at Pilchuck Glass School in Stanwood, Washington then joined the Pilchuck staff himself in 1985. 

In 1986, Dierk founded his first private glass studio, Free State Glass, in Lawrence, Kansas. By 1991, he moved closer to his hometown area near Kansas City and established Rock Cottage Glassworks. Today, working in his eighty-year-old stone cottage studio with a skilled team, he continues to handcraft world-renowned works of art. His career has resulted in nationwide exhibitions at premier galleries and worldwide commissions. In addition to fine art, Dierk creates lamps, vessels, goblets, ornaments, bowls and other pieces in his studio at Rock Cottage Glassworks in Merriam, Kansas.

Ruthe Blalock Jones

Ruthe Blalock Jones is Indian artist of Delaware-Shawnee-Peoria descent. Her works focus on the traditional American Indian ceremonial and social events.  They are recorded in paintings, drawings, limited edition prints in linoleum block, woodcut, and serigraphs. She generally adheres to a traditional two-dimensional "flat" style, with images placed in negative space or blank background. Her paintings' subjects derive from her personal experiences, and she concentrates on painting Indian women in dance attire. She often places them in one of various ceremonial or spiritual contexts, such as powwows, stomp dances, and meetings of the Native American Church. She has exhibited at venues around the world, including the Fogg Art Museum of Harvard University. Her work reside in the collections of major American museums, including the Heard Museum in Phoenix, the Gilcrease Museum and the Philbrook Museum of Art in Tulsa, the Eiteljorg Museum in Indianapolis, and the Museum of the American Indian (Heye Foundation) in New York. 
 
 Jones has served on the Governor's Advisory Committee on the Status of Women and in 1993 received the Oklahoma Governor's Arts and Education Award. She was included in the Oklahoma Women's Hall of Fame in 1995 and in 2000 received Bacone College's Dick West Award. She has served on the board of the Jacobson Foundation in Norman. At the beginning of the twenty-first century she resided in Okmulgee, served as associate professor of art in Bacone College, and continued to paint and exhibit her works around the nation and in foreign nations.
 
Jones has been the Director Emeritus and Associate Professor of Art, at Bacone College in Muskogee, Oklahoma, since 1979.

Laura Bolter

A proud Jayhawk, Laura Bolter received a BFA degree in Graphic Design from the University of Kansas and was recruited as a Lettering Artist at Hallmark Cards. After the birth of her children she embarked on a freelance career that now spans over 30 years. She is an unabashed maximalist who love lots of color, great type, flourished lettering, and enjoys experimenting with different artistic mediums. An early adopter of technology, all of her work is now done digitally on her iPad Pro and Mac computers. Lettering and typography have continued to be her specialty, she’s honed illustration skills, and has licensed images to major companies.

Many years ago, after hearing that the Kansas City Jewish Arts Festival had opening for artists, on a whim she started painting in acrylics and mixed media (something she’d never done before), was accepted, and quickly painted up a collection of Jewish-themed paintings. She continued to paint and traveled to art fairs around the midwest. That Judaic work has led to many opportunities with Jewish organizations around the country.

She and her husband raised their family in Lenexa, KS where they lived for 30 years, but relocated to St. Louis 2021 to remain close to their family. They have two adult daughters, a son-in-law, and two granddaughters. 

Isaac Tapia

Isaac Tapia was born in Mexico, where he lived until moving to the U.S. when he was 9. He graduated from Paseo Academy of Fine and Performing Arts in 2010 and studied at the Kansas City Art Institute. In his solo artwork, Isaac focuses on portraits that celebrate important members of his community. He paints primarily with oils but also enjoys watercolor and drawing. He is now one of the resident artists at the Interurban Arthouse and part of the mural-making artistic duo of ITRAicons.

Jennifer Tiger 

Raised on the Osage Reservation in Oklahoma, Jen Tiger grew up around Osage culture and Art.  As a kid, she was fascinated by old family photographs and portrait paintings in her mother’s home. It is the recollection of these memories and her long-standing curiosity about Osage history which serves as inspiration for her work. In 1989, she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. After many years of working in the tech field, she charted a new path and applied to art school.  She enrolled at the San Francisco Art Institute for photography in 2015.In 2018, she transferred to the Institute of American Indian Arts.  It was at IAIA where she was exposed to a broad range of courses and materials allowing versatility in her work. Her work includes jewelry making, photography, and digital collage.  Jen is an IAIA alumni and holds a BFA in Studio Arts and a minor in Museum Studies. 

Jen has shown work at the 2019 Indigenous Film and Art Festival in Denver CO, 2019 Southwestern American Indian Art Market Contemporary Edge Show in Santa Fe, 2020 Osage Nation Museum “2020 Creativity” Show. 2021 Osage Nation Museum “Voices from the Drum” in Pawhuska, OK.


About the Interior PanelsPanel Imagery Opens in new window

Running up both sides of the interior archway of the Sunflower are illustrated panels featuring imagery that represents some of the more influential history of both Meadowbrook Park and the Prairie Village area as a whole. This includes Native American history, farming, railroads, Mexican American history, and Jewish history. Artists from each of these communities were chosen to develop illustrations for the panels, contributing imagery that highlights history is important to their community. The images in the panels represent the following history:

1. At the very bottom of the archway are hand symbols. These are derived from artifacts left behind from the "Hopewell" culture and acknowledges the thousands of years of human history across this land, long before it was known as "American".  According to the National Park Service website, the Hopewell were not one tribe, but a collection of groups that flourished along rivers and streams across eastern and central North America between 200 BCE and 500 CE. The term Hopewell describes "a broad network of economic, political, and spiritual beliefs and practices among different Native American groups."  (https://www.nps.gov/hocu/learn/historyculture/index.htm)

2. The river symbol, recognizing the importance of the mighty Kansas and Missouri rivers in the Kansas City area, that attracted settlements of people from prehistoric times until today. 

3. The grasslands and the once prevalent bison that roamed the prairie were incredibly important to the livelihoods of the indigenous people of the land. 

4. In more recent history, there were three main tribes that once owned the land that is now Prairie Village. According to the Prairie Village, Kasas website, the "Shawnee, Osage, and Kansa Indians formerly owned the land now developed into the City of Prairie Village." (https://www.pvkansas.com/about/history/prairie-village-our-story)

4a: Created by Jennifer Tiger, a member of the Osage Tribe to represent the Osage Nation.  "This symbolism acknowledges our long-standing reverence for Tsi zho, Sky and Hun ka, land. The stars are our ancestors, who are always with us, close to us and helping guide our way. Mi, the Sun, who is the ultimate life sustainer brings us warmth and light. The river represents the flow of life, it will forever have turns and curves." - Jennifer Tiger

4b. Ruthe Blalock Jones contributed images representing the Shawnee culture, including a woman pounding corn, a Shawnee man dressed for dance, each surrounded by white oak leaves. "The Woman Pounding Corn shows a woman using a mortar and pestle (hollowed out tree trunk and tree branch carved into top and bottom pounders). The woman is dressed in Shawnee dress and apron with ribbons. She wears a scarf on her head which was a common headdress when a woman worked outdoors or left the house. Corn is very important to the Shawnee and is prominent at any Shawnee ceremony and especially the annual Green Corn Dance. Man Dancer could be simply referred to as a Straight Dancer except for his dress. His shirt has a pleated yoke and his ribbon work on his leggings and breechcloth is Shawnee design as is beadwork on moccasins, shoulder bag and belt. He also wears a hair roach on his head. Dance is an important part Of Shawnee culture. Also significant to the White Oak Shawnee is the oak leaf. It is the wood we use at ceremonies and White Oak is the name of our ceremonial grounds. There are three Shawnee tribes, Eastern Shawnee, Absentee Shawnee and White Oak Shawnee" - Ruthe Blalock Jones

4c. Also included is a symbol representing the Kansa or "Kaw" people. The Kansa tribe originated in the area and is where the state of Kansas got its name. The name Kansa was derived from a term that meant "Southwind", and the Kansa or Kaw are known as  "The WInd People" or "People of the Southwind". The word is a Siouan reference to the "tribes role in ware cerimonial using the power of the wind", and the Kaw believed the wind itself to be more like a deity than an element. Up until 1821, the Kaw still occupied a domain of 20 million arches comprising roughly the northern half of present Kansas, before forced into a treaty reducing their lands to a 2 million-acre reservation 30 miles wide beginning just west of present Topeka and extending west, which was slowly dwindled down until the formal removal of the Kaw people in 1872 to a 137-acre site in present day northern Oklahoma. (https://kawnation.com/?page_id=72). 

5. Above the symbols representing native American history is imagery acknowledging the transformational effects of the railroads on the area. It also acknowledges the migrant workers, many from Mexican descent, who helped to build those railroads. Images created by Mexican American Artist Isaac Tapia depict these workers, surrounded by "cempasuchil flowers," known as marigolds in english, and "huitzilin" or hummingbirds. Isaac writes, "This illustration is a small ofrenda (offering) for Kansas railroad workers that passed during the construction under heat intensive working conditions. It includes the elements of the Cempasuchil flower and the Huitzilin (Hummingbird)-- traditional Mexican icons of respect and reverence for loved ones that have passed and the memory of their labor." - Isaac Tapia

6. Above the railroad references are imagery showing the rich history of farming in the area, showing important Kansas crops such as wheat and corn. 

7. On the north side panel, a row of houses topped by children's handprints represent the establishment of planned communities of homes and neighborhood shopping centers beginning in 1941, continuing through today.

8. On the south side panel, the specific importance of Jewish history to Meadowbrook Park.  Before becoming the park it is today, the property was home to a Jewish community country club and golf course, called "Meadowbrook Country Club". Laura Bolter contributed the illustration depicting celebrations that went on in the country club clubhouse, stating: "Celebrations of b’nai mitzvah or weddings held at the country club previously located here, would often include dancing of the Hora, a circular line dance. This dance, along with the Torah scrolls being lifted at the center, seemed a joyful way to illustrate the history of Jewish events and the people who celebrated here." - Laura Bolter

9. Topping the panels are depictions of the Kansas City skyline on the north side, acknowledging the community as part of the greater Kansas City metro area. On the south side are images of the Prairie Village clock tower in the town center, and the Prairie Village water tower, as symbols of the modern community. 

These panels are meant as a reminder to honor all those who have contributed to the prosperous and vibrant community today, as visitors can find their own reflections in the mirrored stainless behind the panels. 

Panel Imagery Opens in new window