by: Nancy Kalikow Maxwell
If you want to see any of those heart-shaped sculptures that have popped up throughout K.C., you better act fast. Those 154 art pieces installed as part of the Parade of Hearts Program will be taken down at the end of May. Plans call for the artwork to be sold at auction, with proceeds benefitting medical, educational and arts organizations impacted by the pandemic.
Similar to the previous “Cow Parade” art project, Parade of Hearts features five-foot fiberglass sculptures designed and decorated by local artists. One of the stated purposes of this regional initiative is to “shine a bright light on the entire artistic community.” Out of 700 heart designs submitted, more than 150 works from 123 different artists were selected for inclusion. The artists chosen are of different ages and genders and represent various cultural, ethnic and geographic backgrounds. A complete list of artists can be found online at https://theparadeofhearts.com/artists/, as well as through the QR codes provided on each sculpture’s plaque.
Thanks to the local efforts of City staff, PV City Council Member Bonnie Limbird, and PV residents, Prairie Village was selected as the site for five of the hearts. These sites include:
These Prairie Village hearts range from the whimsical to the deadly serious. “Spectrum of Love” at 7400 W. State Line is a colorful representation of an eye created by Whiskey Design and sponsored by the University of Kansas Health System. That same sponsor also underwrote the work at 7301 Mission Road - “We are Better Together” by Dennis Stanton. This piece features hands reaching out to each other on one side, with grasping hands depicted on the reverse.
At W. 78th St. and State Line, the heart entitled “Moving Forward” was designed by Michaela Riley. Sponsored by a locally-based café, Parisi Coffee, this sculpture features time piece gears, a clock and Kansas City skyline.
The heart at Meadowbrook Park sings the praises of Kansas City’s musical tradition with “Jazzin’ KC Nights.” Created by Wanda Vehlewald and sponsored by VanTrust, the piece is shaped like a piano and features other musical instruments. Emblazoned on the back side of the heart is a neon-looking sign pronouncing, “JAZZ KC.”
The heart in Corinth Quarter was created by Brooke Jiskra and sponsored by Veracity, an Overland Park-based technology consulting company. Calling the work “Broken Hearted,” Jistra created a memorial to the victims of COVID. Photos of the deceased are shown within the heart, along with hand-written post-it notes from mourners. Among their heart-wrenching statements are:
Several people have been so moved by this piece, they have placed flowers and candles on the sculpture’s base.
In addition to these five PV pieces, approximately 25 other hearts have been installed throughout Johnson County. The Shawnee Mission Post created a driving map of county-wide pieces that can be found HERE.
According to Parade of Hearts, after all these pieces are removed at the end of May, “an exciting extravaganza” is planned for this summer. For now, however, the enthusiasm remains at the sculpture locations.
"I was honored to have been invited to be the 2022 Art of Photography’s juror. I know, from working with jurors and the amount of entries they had to determine which images would make the cut, that my job would not be easy. I do not make my choices lightly, as there were so many excellent works entered. The major difficulty was having to choose only one from a series that worked so well together. Out of 452 I was asked to select only 70 pieces. A difficult task indeed.
"I had started with impact. Which images kept creeping into my psyche and held my attention? Then the category. Did the images, in my opinion, represent the category under which they were entered? Then the technical. I chose technical as my last because I know images that have impact can override technically strong in my book.
"The culmination of these images will take the viewer to many different places, moods and affect each person differently. I have found many to be fantastical constructs that create contemplative imagery and convey mystery, fun, sentimental nostalgia, and tension. The use of different materials or tools helped the artist create an ethereal wisp of a dream.
"I wish I could have selected more, but under the exhibition constraints I had to reign in my selections and weed them down to this very wonderful, extraordinary show. All of the artists selected should be incredibly proud and I hope encouraged to continue their work."
- Angie Jennings, Photographer
President, Kansas City Society of Contemporary Photography
by: Sherrod Taylor
Beginning with a 9AM kaffeeklatsch that served up a plethora of delicious donuts, fresh java, and stimulating conversation, the Prairie Village Arts Council (PVAC) presented its Second Annual Art Walk on Saturday, April 9th. Led by PV Mayor Eric Mikkelson and PV City Council Member Bonnie Limbird, who also chairs the Arts Council, PVAC members joined art lovers assembled at Meadowbrook Park to view the proposed site for installation of the Park’s first piece of public art.
The massive sculpture being constructed, under the auspices of the Johnson County Parks and Recreation District (JCPRD), is the work of public artist Amie J. Jacobsen. She is a local-area sculptor and designer, who received her BA in Studio Art at Western State Colorado and an MFA in Illustration from the world-renowned Savannah School of Art and Design (SCAD), where she also taught from 2006-2015. From her studio, located at 1450 W. Lexington Avenue, in Independence, Missouri, she now enjoys a national reputation.
Called the “Gateway” arch, the sunflower-shaped structure consists of 24 “petals” that glow with night-lighting and shine brilliantly in daylight. It will stand almost 12-feet high. Scheduled to open in June, “Gateway” will become another one of the public art locations featured on PVAC’s Art Walk tour platform, which is found on Otocast (https://www.otocast.com). A rendering depicting this sculpture appears on this website.
Join all of Prairie Village for the ribbon-cutting of this new piece of public art here:
We'll see you there!