© 2022 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Kansas City Police Think Drunk Driver Destroyed A Jun Kaneko Sculpture At Convention Center

Julie Denesha
Only a few shards of ceramic survived the car crash that destroyed one of the seven sculptures created by Nebraska-based artist Jun Kaneko.

Kansas City Police say an "errant vehicle" destroyed one of seven ceramic sculptures by Jun Kaneko. The work titled “Water Plaza,” was located at the Kansas City Convention Center and funded by the city’s One Percent for Art Program.

One of the large-scale, hand-built and glazed ceramic pieces by Japanese-American artist Jun Kaneko was destroyed late in the evening on Aug. 12, in what police describe as "a hit and run, property damage incident." The damage is irreparable and a DUI investigation is pending.

It was one of seven pieces titled “Water Plaza.” The sculpture series was selected by the city in 2006 and installed on the plaza south of the Kansas City Convention Center's Grand Ballroom.

Kaneko, based in Omaha, Nebraska, is known for his large ceramic works and his public art installations can also be found in New York, Tokyo and Chicago.

Julie Denesha
The Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts is visible from the convention center plaza where as six of the seven large-scale ceramic sculptures by Jun Kaneko remain undisturbed. Only one sculpture was shattered in the incident.

The popular public artwork was a part of the One Percent for Art Program. Since1986, Kansas City has required "the construction, reconstruction or remodeling of any municipal building to include an amount equal to one percent of the engineer's estimated cost of improvement for the acquisition and installation of works and other aesthetic adornments."

In a statement, Maggie Green, the spokeswoman for KCMO Public Works, says the remaining six ceramic forms and a work located inside the building were not damaged during the incident.

"We are exploring the replacement costs and options for moving forward," Green said in an email.

Julie Denesha is a freelance multimedia journalist based in Kansas City. Contact her at julie@kcur.org.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and powerful storytelling.
Your donation helps make nonprofit journalism available for everyone.