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New Public Art in the Downtown Loop

Laura Spencer
KCUR 89.3
One of the 'Pedestrian Strands,' guardrail panels on four downtown bridges across I-670

Two new public art projects in downtown Kansas City sound a bit like the names of emo rock bands: Pedestrian Strands and Celestial Flyways. But they're both a sign of the changing times in the downtown loop and a shifting approach to public space.

By Laura Spencer


Kansas City, MO – Celestial Flyways, at Oppenstein Brothers Memorial Park, a pocket park at 12th and Walnut, marks the third project for Art in the Loop. The nonprofit awards commissions in the downtown loop to artists with ties to the Kansas City Art Institute. Artist Laura DeAngelis, a 1995 KCAI graduate, was awarded the commission in October 2006 and led the creative team with Dominique Davison, Davison Architecture + Urban Design, astronomy historian James E. Morris, artist Peregrine Honig, engineers, and fabricators.

The public art project, Pedestrian Strands, includes guardrail panels of glass and mesh on four downtown bridges that span I-670. They're safety rails but, according to architect David Dowell, provide a way of reconnecting areas severed by the highway. The project continued the collaboration between Dowell, of eldorado architects, and artist Jim Woodfill, and it was also a partnership between more than a handful of state and city organizations.

Kansas City is known for its style of jazz, influenced by the blues, as the home of Walt Disney’s first animation studio and the headquarters of Hallmark Cards. As one of KCUR’s arts reporters, I want people here to know a wide range of arts and culture stories from across the metropolitan area. I take listeners behind the scenes and introduce them to emerging artists and organizations, as well as keep up with established institutions. Send me an email at lauras@kcur.org or follow me on Twitter @lauraspencer.
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