by: Jessie Cartwright
After months of planning, a rain-out, and a rescheduled date with high temps, the first Prairie Village Art Walk was held on June 18 with a small group that took the heat in stride. Mayor Mikkelson, Arts Council Chair Bonnie Limbird, and volunteers, families, and members of the community gathered in the shade at The Homesteaders at 5:30 pm. It was clear from the atmosphere of excitement that social interaction ensuing after months of isolation was welcomed. Following introductions, conversation, handshakes, and photos, our short journey began.
We walked to Fluid Form and demonstrated how to use the QR Code on the placard (at the base of the sculpture) to download Otocast and locate the Prairie Village Art Walk. We then listened to the artist, Jacob Burmood, describe Fluid Form. A few participants were engaged in answering the placard question “If this sculpture was music, what would it sound like?” Some diverse analogies were Beach Boys Good Vibrations, Mozart, or Scott Joplin’s ragtime! For me, it was Jean-Pierre Rampal and Claude Bolling’s Suite for Jazz and Piano.
By 6:00 pm we reached our final destination, Fifties Freedom In The Village, where we were joined by a larger community group including sculptor E. Spencer Schubert and donor Brad Johnson. Also present were artists Richard Lumpkin (Prairie Boy), and Phil and Holly of Syke Style (Connections at Corinth). Members of BikeWalkKC set up an information tent to educate the public about “redefining our streets as a place for people to build a culture of active living.” Deputy City Administrator Jamie Robichaud and Assistant City Administrator Meghan Buum organized the dedication space with a microphone, tent, and bottled water. Mayor Mikkelson provided acknowledgements before the formal dedication and ribbon cutting. By 6:30, we dispersed for air conditioning.
While our summer is in full swing, I have discovered the best time to take the Art Walk challenge is around 7:00 a.m., when the traffic is light and the air is still cool. Water is essential, but a good cup of coffee or treat reward can be found at the Village or Corinth shops. The placards with artist information will be removed August 1st, though you can still download the free Otocast app and search for the Prairie Village Art Walk at any time. The Otocast tour is a unique feature of the Prairie Village Art Walk that can be used any time of the year with artist recordings, artwork information, and site links to artists or the Prairie Village Arts Council.
by: Nancy Kalikow Maxwell
Can’t decide if you should read or take a walk? No need to choose. Now you can do both at the same time, thanks to the Johnson County Library’s “Walk and Read Program.” While walking at Franklin Park from July 9 to July 18, you’ll be able to read two children’s books displayed along the sidewalk. Strolling in one direction, you’ll see the pages of the children’s book Mouse Mess by Linnea Riley mounted on successive posters. Reversing direction, you can peruse the pages of Rachel Bright and Jim Field’s book Koala Who Could.
Now in its seventh year, “Walk and Read” provides the library with an outdoor literary activity perfectly suited to reach patrons during the COVID pandemic. Originally launched as a single-weekend event, the program became so popular it was extended to the current span of nineteen weeks encompassing almost 20 local parks. The program is coordinated by the library’s Walk and Read team, whose members select the books, prepare the page storyboards, and select the park locations. Working with local park personnel, they then locate, mount, and remove the signs. “This has been the most time-intensive program I’ve worked on,” notes Johnson County Library’s Youth Information Specialist Hannah Jane Weber, “but also the most rewarding work I’ve ever done.”
“We have had people come into the library and tell us how much they enjoy it,” she says. “They have called us and sent in pictures of their kids enjoying it.”
Confirming this positive response, while the signs were being installed several Franklin Park-dwelling parents remarked about the program. “Cute.” “Cool.” And “a fun idea to have here at Prairie Village,” were overheard from those passing by.
Shawnee resident Emily Brandjord noted, “It’s a great way to get kids interested in reading.” Karen Warden of Kansas City said, “It’s nice that the library is trying to reach out to promote early literacy in this outdoor setting.”
I agree, and as a daily park-walker and avid reader, would add the benefit of getting to do both at once.
by: Jessie Cartwright
Let's Walk! Everyone is Welcome!
You are invited to combine art and wellness in the beautiful outdoors with Mayor Eric Mikkelson and the Prairie Village Arts Council as we kick-off the first Prairie Village Art Walk, Friday, June 11, at 5:30 pm.
Designed to highlight our city’s public art, build community, and promote wellness, the Art Walk includes eight significant works of art by local and internationally known artists along Mission Road from The Shops of Prairie Village to Corinth Quarter.
We will begin at The Homesteaders, Shaffer Park, 5:30 pm, at Mission and Tomahawk Road.
We will make a stop at Fluid Form, Mission Lane:
After Fluid Form, we will continue south for a ribbon-cutting event at Fifties Freedom In the Village at approximately 6:00 pm, joined by sculptor E. Spencer Schubert and donor Brad Johnson to officially welcome our city’s newest sculpture, also unofficially known as "the boy on a bike".
We will continue north along Mission Road to view five more works of art, ending at 83rd Street, Corinth Quarter, for the recent mural Connections at Corinth.
Use the mural as a photo background and tag Corinth Quarter on Instagram and Facebook, @corinthquarter, and Prairie Village Arts Council, @artsprairievillage. Use the hashtag: #pvartwalk!
The Art Walk is approximately 3.6 scenic miles of amazing public art round trip. If you are not able to attend the Kick-off, the sculpture information placards will remain throughout the summer.
A special feature of the Prairie Village Art Walk includes viewing access through Otocast, a free geo-mapping app with artist audio, text, and visuals about their artwork. Download Otocast and select Prairie Village, KS to hear all about them as you tour the public art.
Download the Otocast app to your phone through your app store.
On both iPhone and Android.
We look forward to seeing you at the Prairie Village Art Walk this summer!