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Arts & Life

'Sheaves Of Wheat' Sculpture Leaves Plaza For Powell Gardens

Laura Ziegler

The iconic shafts of wheat and corn that have arched over the east entrance of the building that formerly held the Kansas City Board of Trade were pried off the wall Tuesday after a nearly 50-year running.

Workers with Belger Cartage Service of Kansas City – the same company that installed the art work in 1966 — spent the day wrenching loose bolts and heaving the 4,000-pound bronze sculptures onto flatbed trucks in the middle of Main Street on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Mo.

Project Manager Frank Staley said workers needed most of the business day to take down the sculpture. Officials initially estimated removal only would take four hours.

“Belger put (the sculpture) up March 25, 1966," Staley says. “We don’t have any drawings or instructions about how it was put up, so it’s kind of trial and error.”

Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR
Workers hammered rusty bolts to remove the wheat sculpture from the old Board of Trade building.

The 17-foot high sculpture, called "Sheaves Of Wheat," was made by Jac Bowen specifically for the Board of Trade Building, which closed in July 2013.

Mariner Real Estate Management, LLC, which bought the Board of Trade building after the Kansas City commodity market merged with the Chicago market, is donating the sculpture to Powell Gardens, a botanical garden in Kingsville, Mo. 

Credit Laura Ziegler / KCUR
The "Sheaves of Wheat" sculpture, being lowered here, will be delivered to the Powell Botanical Gardens on Wednesday.

Callen Fairchild Zind, director of marketing and events with Powell Gardens, says they’re putting together a committee of landscape architects, board members and others to explore the best way to incorporate the sculpture into the landscape. 

One possibility, Fairchild Zind says, is for the artwork to go at the entrance of the new Heartland Harvest Garden.

“It’s on 12 acres and is dedicated to the story of where our food comes from," she says. "So it would be a natural home for the new sculpture."

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