Art Nine Disc Golf Course
Artists and artworks for the "Art Nine" Disc Golf Course have been selected!
The course, with structures installed, will be completed in late spring 2024. View the tabs below to learn more about each of the artists and artworks!
Thanks for your community feedback, which took place August 7 - 21.
In early 2023, Johnson County Park and Recreation District released a call to artists within a 250-mile radius to design to create site-specific, permanent sculptures for the future Art Nine disc golf course located at Shawnee Mission Park. The Art Selection Committee — made up of community members and JCPRD staff — selected 6 artists as finalists including Tim Adams, Jake Balcom, Scott Diven, Amie Jacobsen, Stephen T. Johnson, and Tim Mispagel. Each artist was asked to present 3 proposals to the art selection committee. Ten sculptures were selected for realization; nine will be selected for the disc golf course, and a special 10th sculpture which will be placed near the adjacent inclusive playground at Shawnee Mission Park.
- Amie Jacobsen (Independence, MO)
- Scott Diven (Kansas City, MO)
- Tim Mispagel (Olathe, KS)
- Jake Balcom (Kansas City, MO)
- "Spirit of the Brook" by Amie Jacobsen (placement: near hole 1 tee)
- "Over the Rainbow" by Amie Jacobsen (placement: near hole 3 tee)
- "Echinacea Umbrella" by Amie Jacobsen (placement: near hole 5 tee)
My designs for the Art Nine Disc Golf are inspired by the idea of creating enchanting art pieces that celebrate Shawnee Mission Park’s natural environment. The focus is on showcasing the park’s native flora, fauna, animals, and wildlife to create a family-friendly atmosphere. While the designs are intentionally approachable for children, they also possess a level of elegance and sophistication suitable for adults to enjoy.
The main theme of my designs centers around pollinators and other beneficial insects abundant in the park. These creatures, often seen as bothersome or overlooked, play a vital role in maintaining a healthy ecosystem. Given the current environmental challenges of the world, it is essential to recognize their significance. Additionally, my fascination with the intricate and elaborate forms of insects, and their constant movement and energy, motivates me to feature them.
By highlighting these pollinators and insects, I aim to showcase the crucial role they play in the park’s ecosystem and feel they are a fun yet meaningful way to honor the role the parks play in helping to keep our cities healthy and strong.
Amie Jacobsen is a designer, sculptor and public artist living and working in the Kansas City area. A lifelong creator, she has produced work in painting, illustration, and graphic design before transitioning to 3D design and metal-working in 2015. She holds a BA in Studio Art from Western State Colorado, as well as an MFA in Illustration from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) where she also taught illustration from 2006-2015. In 2015, Amie took the opportunity to learn metalworking where she was introduced to the world of fabricated sculpture and public art and completely reshaped her career. After 2 years she was awarded her first large scale sculpture commission and opened her own studio and workshop. Today, Amie’s studio is located in Independence, MO where she has produced sculpture and artisan furniture throughout the US, including 9 public art commissions.
- "Sweet Spot" (placement: near hole 2 tee)
- "Their Journey" (placement: near hole 4 tee)
- "Let Her Fly" (placement: near hole 9 tee)
When I was awarded the opportunity to design these sculptures I found inspiration from the area’s past and present. Roughly 70-80 million years ago Pteranodons would have soared over the skies and large sea creatures would have swam in the ocean that is present day Kansas. For thousands of years, until the late 1800’s bison would have roamed the area’s land.
- “Let Her Fly” was not only inspired by the Pteranodons of the past but also the flight of the future disc of the Art 9 course.
- “Sweet Spot” has a number of elements to its inspiration. This piece has reference to the Mosasaurs that swam the prehistoric ocean and the fish of present-day Shawnee Mission lake. I also wanted to use circles the same size as the discs for golf. These will be put together to resemble butterflies. They will be attached to lite rod so the butterflies will move and appear to fly over the open mouth of the fish. Finally, sweet spot, is a disc golf term about the area of the target.
- “Their Journey” was inspired by the iconic Bison of the Kansas plains. The wild Bison’s journey to near extinction is a sad one. However, with national parks, ranchers, and others, the Bison can roam into the future. The 3 birds the Bison carries with it, represents its past, present, and future.
Scott Diven is a contemporary mixed media sculptor from Kansas City, Missouri. Art is something that has always been something within him, anxious to be revealed. As early as preschool, he has been submersed in creating. He credits his two wonderful, hardworking, parents who allowed him to develop a perfect blend of his mother’s work with ceramics and his father’s work with steel. His art would not be where it is today without the positive support and motivation his wife and three children. Inspiration for his art is often from nature and the way it coexists with industrial items often abandoned in landscape. While trying to translate his inspiration, he doesn’t focus on replicating the specific image, however, the personal feeling from the inspiration. That feeling shows through his choices of materials, colors and movement in his pieces. He enjoys creating everything by hand.
- "Paper Wasp Putting Game" (placement: near Shawnee Mission Park inclusive playground, adjacent to disc golf course parking lot)
- "Forest Guardian" (placement: near hole 7 tee)
- "Twilight Refuge" (placement: near hole 8 tee)
My entries were informed by my love for the sport of disc golf and a serendipitous encounter while revisiting the course. I stumbled upon a delicate paper wasp’s nest lying perfectly preserved between holes six and seven. This chance finding ignited a spark of inspiration and soon became the foundation for two of my three entries. My second entry entitled; “Forest Guardian” was inspired by my many experiences with white tailed deer in the park.
Witnessing the intricate structure of the paper wasp’s nest reminded me of the intersection of form and function in nature. This principal also illustrated the problem we were tasked with solving. That is, to create work that is whimsical and inviting that might also function as an interactive experience for all.
Our artist cohort was informed that the rate of play would most likely be slower because of beginners experiencing the sport for the first time. “Let’s give folks something to do while waiting,” I thought. That’s when I had my aha moment! Create an interactive sculpture inspired by nature that encourages the most important skill inherent to the sport of disc golf…putting!
To encourage effective practice, the openings of the individual cells would be 22 inches, the diameter of the sweet spot of the chains on a basket. Notably, my sculpture idea entitled, “Twilight Refuge” was also inspired by the paper wasp’s marvel of natural architecture and resilience. The color scheme on the inside of the sculpture was informed by our vibrant Kansas sunsets.
As a multimedia artist, my inspiration stems from nature’s breathtaking beauty and symmetry. With a background in illustration, I sculpt captivating narratives using welded steel, ceramics, glass, bronze, aluminum, wood, and earthwork to name a few. These diverse media allow me to craft immersive and thought-provoking pieces, bridging imagination and reality. My art invites audiences to embrace the profound connection between humanity and the natural world, fostering environmental consciousness and wonder. Through each mediums unique voice, I celebrate the intricate beauty that surrounds us, igniting a shared responsibility to protect and cherish our planet for generations to come.
- "Iron Leaf" (placement: near hole 6 tee)
As a Public Art Artist, I always strive to represent the symbiotic relationship between art and the community. To achieve this, I rely heavily on my passion for organic forms found in nature and distinct geometries to create visually stimulating pieces that result in a balanced, complementary contrast between the natural and industrial worlds. One key element is that I always try to tie plants, flowers, and trees native to the region into the sculpture. It is the blending of the straight hard geometric lines with these organic features that produce the unique final result. As these natural elements are incorporated, the sculptures evolve from rigid, angular shapes into soft, elegant, and flowing forms.
I love Shawnee Mission Park and was very excited to participate in the Disc Nine Sculpture call. As I was developing concepts, I wanted to respect the pristine nature of the park while at the same time creating beautiful, fun experiences that would draw people into the Disc Nine course. The sculpture concepts are based on simple but relatable subject matters. The end results are bright and stimulating sculptures that engage the viewer from a distance while at the same time sitting in harmony with the environment around them. They will create a modern, dynamic, and intriguing visual experience for the park and community that residents, visitors, adults, and children will enjoy for years to come.
“Iron Leaf” is supposedly a term used by disc golfers “when your disc grazes a seemingly innocent leaf, but instead knocks your disc out of the sky with a mystic power comparable to Thor’s Hammer.” These two large abstract leaf sculptures that can be used as seating.
With an education background in architecture and biology, Jake Balcom is a self taught artist that has been creating art for over 20 years. He has extensive fabrication skills and is known for complicated, yet clean designs. He has public art installations all over the country as well as over 200 private commissions. His primary focus these days is site specific metal sculptures, primarily in the public realm. He used old world techniques, new age technology, and a metal’s natural malleability to create these site specific pieces. He was part of the team the repaired and restored Ken Snelson’s giant sculpture “Triple Crown”, and recently attended the Buffalo Creek Art Center residency outside of Lake Tahoe. He currently creates his art in a small studio in the Crossroads Arts District in Kansas City.
The Public Art Program is interested in commissioning artists to create site-specific, permanent sculptures at the Art Nine disc golf course located at Shawnee Mission Park, 7900 Renner Road, Shawnee, KS 66219. It is the goal of this project to hire three artists/artist teams to each create a series of three art pieces. With nine total sculptures, placement will occur in proximity to each of the nine tees.
The goals for the Art Nine Disc Golf Course are to:
- Encourage the discovery of disc golf as a fun, healthy and relatively inexpensive pastime for individuals and families.
- Use art to highlight and celebrate the natural environment within Shawnee Mission Park including native flora, fauna, animals, birds, and unique features of the park. The artist may find inspiration for their design by spending time in this park, utilizing resources provided in this document, or visiting with JCPRD staff.
- Create whimsical art sculptures that can be enjoyed by disc golfers and park patrons.
- Celebrate the role that art and artists play in our community and in our economy.
The public art opportunity is open to professional artists residing within 250 miles of the Kansas City area including Kansas City, St. Louis, Wichita, Omaha, Lincoln, Fayetteville, Bentonville, Hutchinson, Emporia, Topeka, Manhattan, Lawrence, Columbia, and others.
April 13, 2023
Issue call for artists
May 3, 2023
Virtual open house (11 – 11:30 AM @ Zoom)
June 8, 2023
Artist qualifications due
June 14, 2023
ASC meets to determine 6 finalists
June 29, 2023
Optional site visit for 6 finalists
August 3, 2023
Artists present concept proposals to ASC virtually
August 7 - 21, 2023
August 22, 2023
ASC meets to determine 3 winners and assign tee locations
Design proposal / finalization
August 29, 2023
Public Art Committee approval
September 20, 2023
JCPRD Board approval, contract initiated
Oct 2023 - Feb 2024
March - April 2024
Site preparation, art installation
Ribbon cutting / community engagement event
Art Selection Committee
- Bill Maasen, JCPRD Superintendent of Parks and Golf Courses
- Clifton Alexander, Artist and Disc Golf Advocate
- Kelby Hellwig, JCPRD Central Region Park Manager
- Susan Mong, JCPRD Superintendent of Culture
- Yolonda Guyton, JCPRD Planning & Development Department + Public Art Committee Liaison
- Rich Smith, Kansas Flying Disc Association
- Laura Hayes, Disc Golf Advocate
- Lenexa Arts Council / Community Art Advocate
- Jen Newell, administrative support, non-voting