The mission of Leawood’s Public Art Program is to integrate highly visible art into the Leawood community for the purpose of creating a legacy of works to be enjoyed by current and future generations, and they are doing just that. This is just a small collection of some of the exquisite pieces of art that can be enjoyed around Leawood.
Artist: Ewerdt Hilgemann
Stainless & Cor-Ten Steel
Installed May 2018
Location: North of Leawood City Hall along Roe Avenue
Dancers is a two- piece work of art, one of stainless steel and one of Cor-Ten steel. Each piece is a 4-foot x 4-foot rectangular box that is 20 feet tall. Each section weighs about one ton. Dancers was originally created for a temporary seven-sculpture exhibition, and installed on Park Avenue in New York City during the summer of 2014 at the intersection of 59th, just as the Paley pieces had been earlier. Dancers is a prime example of Hilgemann’s signature implosion style.
Ewerdt Hilgemann is a German artist living and working in the Netherlands. Hilgemann’s contemporary work has been his focus since 1985, when he created his first “implosion” piece. Hilgemann works in steel, fabricating perfect, geometrically pure forms, welded and polished to very high standards. Hilgemann then vacuums the form with a pump and creates a new form that has visual reference to the original form. For the artist, the implosion represents the inward spiral of energy to reach the core and mystery of matter, the ultimate beauty of creation.
Hilgemann’s work is featured in public art collections throughout Europe, Asia and the United States, including Chicago, Beverly Hills and Leawood. Hilgemann has pieces in private collections throughout the world.
Artist: Albert Paley
Installed October 2014
Location: Sculpture Garden – Tomahawk Creek Parkway at 115th Street
Albert Paley is world renowned for his monumental architectural ironwork and sculpture. Paley’s formed and fabricated work pays homage to European art nouveau and American abstract expressionism. He is the first metal sculptor to receive the coveted Institute Honors awarded by the American Institute of Architects to a non-architect.
“The allure of Paley’s art comes through its intrinsic sense of integration of art and architecture,” as one noted architect stated.
Variance was selected by Leawood’s Art in Public Places Initiative (APPI) to be the centerpiece of the sculpture garden. The selection took place prior to construction and was unveiled in New York City in June of 2013 as part of “Paley On Park Avenue: New York City.”
Movement is implied through gesture and balance. Paley’s intention is that the sculpture reflects the dynamism, stressing alterability and change. Complexity and attention to detail are fundamental in all of his work. The closer one approaches, the sculpture slowly reveals itself.
Commissioned by both public institutions and private corporations, pieces by Albert Paley can be found in the permanent collections of many major museums including the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
Artist: Beth Nybeck
Art on Loan Program Temporary Installation October 2016
Location: West lawn of Leawood City Hall
Point Defiance is the most recent addition to the City’s Public Art Collection. It had been the ninth temporary installation of the “Art on Loan Program,” which provides local artists the opportunity to display their work to the residents of Leawood. The abstract sculpture is constructed of stainless and mild steel and sits on a Kansas limestone rock base. The piece, an abstract representation of an animal, was constructed in 2009.
Beth Nybeck is a local artist rapidly gaining national attention for her large scale constructed metal sculptures which she fabricates herself. She recently completed an installation titled Tapestry for Johnson County located at the Johnson County Justice Annex. She has other pieces in Johnson County and around the metropolitan area.
Nybeck works from her studio in the West Bottoms. The City of Leawood is honored to have her work on exhibition as she is the first female sculptor represented in the public art collection either by permanent installation or art-on-loan.
Artist: Richard Hunt
Welded Stainless Steel
Dedicated August 20, 1999
Location: Sculpture Garden on Tomahawk Creek Parkway between 113th and 115th Streets
Internationally renowned sculptor Richard Hunt of Chicago has completed more public sculptures than any other artist in the country. His career as a sculptor began in 1955. Inspired by the modern sculptures of 20th-century artists, Hunt began to experiment with new techniques, including welding pieces of metal into abstract shapes. He has experimented with a wide range of techniques challenging traditional boundaries. Hunt was one of the first artists to serve on the National Endowment for the Arts and on boards of the Smithsonian Institution. Hunt is the recipient of numerous awards and honorary degrees.
Richard Hunt was commissioned to create Growing for the City of Leawood. He uses geometric forms such as triangles and cylinders to build the bases of his sculptures. Curved, flowing, natural forms sit on the bases. His goals are to balance formal elements, such as line, shape and movement; explore ideas about nature, behavior and dreams; combine the tools and technology of today with the shapes and ideas of nature; and let the viewers decide what these shapes resemble.
This piece was originally installed next to City Hall but was relocated to the Sculpture Garden due to the expansion of the library.
Artist: Wendell Castle
Dedicated June 25, 2002
Location: Brook Beatty Park at 86th Street and Lee Boulevard
Kansas native Wendell Castle is known throughout the world for his innovative designs in wood, plastic and bronze. His reputation spans more than 40 years as a sculptor, designer and educator. Castle has received countless awards and honors for his accomplishments. By challenging traditional concepts of function and appearance, Castle has been instrumental in turning the making of handcrafted furniture into an art form.
Wendell Castle’s sculptural and one-of-a-kind functional pieces are represented in major museums and corporate collections across America.
“From the beginning I have wanted to make art furniture,” explains Castle. “I like to be in the space between furniture and sculpture because that area has enormous possibilities.”
His style marries organic and geometric forms. Castle was commissioned to create this one-of-a-kind bronze bench for the City of Leawood.
Avanim Vetseiadim (Stones and Steps)
Artist: Ilan Averbuch
Granite and Steel
Dedicated October 20, 2009
Location: Gezer Park at 133rd & Mission Road
Internationally renowned artist Ilan Averbuch was commissioned by Leawood’s APPI specifically for this location because of his intimate knowledge of the Gezer Region informed by his Israeli heritage and experience. Avanim Vetseiadim is the focal point of the new Gezer Park, which has been developed to honor Leawood’s Sister City relationship with the Gezer Region of Israel.
This 22-foot ladder of steel and recycled granite rises from a small reflecting lake. Averbuch describes his vision for this work: “A ladder is a tool, a human creation, mimicking things we see in nature. It steps into territories beyond our natural reach. A ladder has a physical dimension, but from very early on it has occupied the human mind as a dream and metaphor. As such, it has no limits, no scale and no physical explanation. In daily reality, we think of it as something that starts on solid ground, and we associate it with climbing up or down. However, through our poetic license it also has become an archetype, which despite accepting the facts of gravity, reaches out to the beyond.”
Water is seen as the beginning of life. We also see it as an element of cleansing. It reflects the circularity of life, but often in life and literature, it represents the unconscious—the sea of the unknown: “In this work I wanted to connect that ‘sea of the unknown,’ which we search to understand with our desires to reach out for more than what we have. This combination reflects the human condition, and in this work literally a reflection of one element in the other—the ladder grows out of its reflection created in the water. Stone and water are opposites and are the materials from which I carve this image. They form a dialogue with surprises and questions. Each viewer can find his own range of answers to the questions posed here between the physical and the metaphysical.”