A Seat at the Table by Kirsten Taylor

The outdoor temporary sculpture created by the JCPRD’s Art and Natural Resources Resident, Kirsten Taylor, is a series of tables tiled with wild clay found on site at Shawnee Mission Park. The artist uses the tables to evoke imagery of family and community. Dining or kitchen tables are at their core about food and nourishment. Made in response to the work the Natural Resources team has done to remove invasive bush honeysuckle from the park, the tiles tell the story of what plants have thrived here as the result of human decisions. From before statehood to the present, the impressions of prairie plants are slowly replaced by trees which in turn become crowded with honeysuckle. The sculpture asks viewers to consider which plants are part of our community and have a seat at the table. Who is allowed to thrive here in the park?

A Seat at the Table art installation at SMP        Closeup of table for A Seat at the Table art installation in SMP

A Seat at the Table is situated approximately .2 miles from the trailhead along the Orange Trail. The section of the Orange Trail leading to the artwork is an unpaved, natural surface with uneven terrain and occasional roots. The trail is a maximum of 3ft wide and follows a 30ft incline going towards the artwork.  

Learn about the piece and inspiration of artist, Kirsten Taylor


Artist Talk and FREE Plein Air Painting Workshop

This event was held on October 22, 2022 from 10am-12pm at Shawnee Mission Park - Shelter 3

Pokeberry Ink Painitng2Join JCPRD's artist in residence, Kirsten Taylor, for an artist's talk and walk out to her temporary art piece, A Seat at the Table, located on the Orange Trail in Shawnee Mission Park culminating in a plein air art workshop with natural inks. This activity is FREE but registration is required.

Participants will meet at Shelter 3 in the park and walk with Kirsten to her sculpture. Once at the sculpture site participants will be provided natural inks made from plants sourced from Shawnee Mission Park to paint with. There will be time for painting and discussion at the installation site, there will be no painting instruction.

An indoor, fully accessible, installation inside the Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center allowed viewers to see the story and the process behind Kirsten Taylor's, A Seat at the Table through text, photos and a collection of the ceramic tiles Kirsten made for the installation in Shawnee Mission Park.



Project OverviewShawnee Mission Park grasslands

The Art and Natural Resources Residency will be the first short-term residency program to engage a local artist and allow them to embed with the JCPRD Natural Resources team to learn, respond artistically, and amplify the important work of land restoration --specifically, the removal of the invasive species bush honeysuckle. A call for local artists occurred in December 2021 and upon review by an art selection committee made up of artists and community members, Kirsten Taylor was selected to occupy the residency. The JCPRD Board unanimously approved Taylor at the March 2022 board meeting. 

The goals for the Art and Natural Resources Residency are to:

  • Create interactive, artistic experiences that allow park visitors to learn about the land restoration and the ecology and natural systems that make up the JCPRD parks. Specifically, this ANRR will focus on the health of forests and the effect of the invasive species at Shawnee Mission Park.
  • Provide a platform for artists to create new, engaging art projects that grow out of an exploration of the work of the Natural Resources team, the process of land restoration, and the ecology and natural systems of JCPRD parks.
  • Increase community engagement, awareness, and appreciation related to the JCPRD Natural Resource Plan and the efforts and impact our staff have on the health of our natural ecosystem.
  • Support the growth and development of Kansas City regional artists.

Tentative timeline for the project:

December 2021

Approve Project Plan and Issue Call for Artists

February 2022

Artist Qualifications Due
Application Review by Art Selection Committee
Interviews Conducted for Finalists

March 2022

Winning Artist Selected
JCPRD Board Approval

April 2022

Final Schedule Outlined for Artist Residency

August 2022

Artist Residency with JCPRD Staff On-Location at Shawnee Mission Park

September 2022

Design Approved, Fabrication, Workshop Planning 

October 2022

Installation, Workshop, Community Day (dates TBD)

Educational Resources

About the Selected Artist

KirstenTaylor_Headshot SquareKirsten Taylor is a multimedia artist based in the tallgrass prairie ecoregion. Her work questions the traditionally Western hierarchy of humans above the nature by investigating the relationships between humans and the more-than human world. Taylor holds a BA in Studio Art from Baylor University and was a post-baccalaureate student in ceramics at Utah State University. Currently she attends University of Kansas in Lawrence, Kansas as an MFA student. Taylor has exhibited nationally at venues including the Indianapolis Art Center, Starbrick Gallery, and the Leedy-Voulkos Art Center. She was awarded commissions by the Spencer Museum of Art in 2020 and 2021.

The Art and Natural Resources Residency Art Selection Committee includes:

Art and Natural Resources Residency_2022 Art Selection Committee

Pictured: Megan Garrett, Matt Garrett, Ryan Bell, Linda Lehrbaum, Susan Mong.

  • Ryan Bell
    JCPRD Fine Arts Coordinator
  • Matt Garrett
    JCPRD Biologist
  • Megan Garrett
    JCPRD Planning & Development
  • Linda Lehrbaum
    Kansas City Wildlands
  • Susan Mong
    JCPRD Superintendent of Culture

Project Support

JCPRD's Art and Natural Resources Residency was supported in part by the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission, which receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency.

Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission_Logo

National Endowment for the Arts_square logo


JCPRD's Public Art Vision Statement

Public art in JCPRD parks, trails and facilities will inspire a deeper connection to place through interactive, immersive, and inclusive experiences.Button_Public Art Master Plan Opens in new window

The Parks and Recreation Foundation of Johnson County plays a crucial role in the fulfillment of JCPRD’s Public Art Program through the procurement of grants and donations. The foundation continues to seek support for future projects through corporate and private funders. Those interested in becoming involved with public art initiatives are encouraged to contact Susan Mong, Superintendent of Culture, at 913-715-2573 or [email protected].

Want to stay up-to-date with JCPRD Public Art projects?

On a monthly basis, an e-newsletter is sent with updates on current and upcoming projects.Button_Sign up for e-news Opens in new window

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