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Jan 30

New Public Art Program to bring art into public spaces, address art donations

Posted on January 30, 2020 at 11:04 AM by Becky Burnside

Bringing public art into park spaces, and in many cases, unexpected places, is the goal for a new Public Art Program being launched in 2020 by the Johnson County Park and Recreation District.

“We want to encourage our community to enjoy our park spaces in a new way, create curiosity, be inspired and feel a stronger sense of community and place,” said Superintendent of Culture Susan Mong. 

The program spun out of a temporary sculpture project placed in a JCPRD park in 2018.

“This project involved an artist from the Kansas City Art Institute, Ann-Marie Yang, who approached JCPRD with the idea of sharing her sculpture project in a public park that was meaningful to her, Lexington Lake Park,” Mong said. “We took advantage of this temporary project to engage the community, our board, and our staff around this idea of public art.  We learned a lot about the installation process, maintenance, placement, security, and community engagement.   We established a project team to study this idea, build the framework and work through a sustainable budget approach to funding.  The project team researched successful programs around the country. “

“JCPRD’s Public Art Committee will serve as an advisory committee to the board and shall be responsible for administering the Public Art Program, including the selection processes for artists and art works to be commissioned or acquired under the program, and making recommendations to the Board for final selection action,” Mong said. “The committee will be made up of community members and JCPRD staff, meeting bimonthly to advance the work, set priorities, and move projects forward.“ 

This effort will be funded with 0.05 percent of JCPRD’s Capital Improvement Plan, and is expected to have approximately $90,000 in funding for its first year.  The first art project will be launched at Meadowbrook Park, which opened in June 2019 in Prairie Village. The art project is expected to take six to 12 months to complete.

Another element of the program is the establishment of a process for donating art to JCPRD. This process will include assessing the value of the artwork, projected life of the piece, and ongoing maintenance costs to make sure the donation is a fit for the donor and JCPRD respectively.  

“We want to be thoughtful about this process to respect the intention of the donor and balance that with any ongoing maintenance costs associated with the artwork,” Mong said. 

A maintenance fund will also be created to anticipate ongoing costs associated with the artwork.  This will be funded by diverting 10 percent of the annual distribution to this maintenance fund.  

“JCPRD is committed to providing arts and cultural experiences to our community and now that will include public art in our beautiful park spaces,” Mong said. “We will consider both temporary and permanent art installations. This is a big step forward strategically in our organization to commit staff resources and budget dollars for this new Public Art Program. We look forward to creating new opportunities for our patrons to encounter art in our natural spaces, adding beauty, enhancing their experience, and creating community.”   

Learn more about this new program at: