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Wichita Art Museum rolls out the "green" carpet with art garden grand opening
Two newly commissioned artworks—Wind Screens by Vicki Scuri and Pulse Field by Derek Porter—add special luster to the new garden.

WICHITA, KS.- The Wichita Art Museum lays out a new welcome mat to the community with the Art Garden Grand Opening on Saturday, September 26. Admission is free.

The Art Garden has transformed the lawn around the museum building into a lush oasis in the heart of the city. Features include the Paula and Barry Downing Amphitheater, Lattner and Walker Family Plaza, Jayne Milburn Sculpture Plaza, Slawson Family North Garden, and Tom and Myra Devlin Desert Garden.

Eleven exceptional sculptures—including masterworks by Henry Moore and Wichita native Tom Otterness—have been newly sited with surrounding landscape designed to frame and showcase the art.

Planning for the $3.5 million project started in the winter of 2013, with ground broken in January 2015. The Art Garden was designed by Midwest landscape architecture firm Confluence with GLMV Architecture serving as the oversight consultant. Simpson Construction Services of Wichita brought the designer’s vision to life.

Lush plantings—more than 100 new trees, nearly 600 shrubs, and more than 20,000 perennials and grasses—replace expanses of lawn on the museum’s eight acres. More than 840 tons of Kansas limestone has been brought to the site, creating seating, signage, walls, and walkways.

Two newly commissioned artworks—Wind Screens by Vicki Scuri and Pulse Field by Derek Porter—add special luster to the new garden.

Based in Seattle, the nationally important public artist Vicki Scuri was a contributor to the Confluence team, helping to design WAM’s new Art Garden. Scuri designed a trio of screens inspired by the Kansas winds. These Wind Screens rely on a gestural pattern of circles to reference wind sailing across the landscape.

Derek Porter is a multi-disciplinary artist focused on the use of light within the built environment. Porter masterminded the lighting scheme for the Art Garden, and a new light installation, Pulse Field, which beautifully combines technological elements with natural forms. The long, aluminum light poles scattered across a newly created berm are topped with solar lights that gently turn on and off.

Saturday’s Art Garden Grand Opening party extends from noon into the night with activities for the entire Wichita community.

The event begins with food trucks selling lunch starting at noon, followed by the Art Garden Dedication Ceremony with Wichita Mayor Jeff Longwell at 12:45 p.m., and performances by Kansas City-based StoneLion Puppet Theatre at 2:30 p.m. and ICT Roller Girls at 5 p.m.

The food trucks return at 6 p.m. with the festivities continuing into the evening starting at 7 p.m. with DJ Carbon, and a stage show highlighting creations from Planet Hair with Ballet Wichita dancers. Wichita party band Lotus takes the stage at 7:30 p.m. with the day’s celebration concluding at 10 p.m.

Museum galleries and the Museum Store will be open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Muse Cafe will serve bunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., desserts and drinks from 2 to 3 p.m., and will offer a special tapas dinner menu from 5 to 9 p.m.

The Art Garden is 100% privately funded with major gifts from Barry and Paula Downing, Keith and Martha Walker, Mrs. Jayne Milburn, Mrs. Judy Slawon, the Friends of the Wichita Art Museum, and challenge grant from the Lattner Family Foundation. Additional support comes from Tom and Myra Devlin, Sondra M. Langel, Richard D. Smith, Mike and Dee Michaelis, Emprise Bank, Jeff Kennedy and Patricia Gorham, Nancy and Tom Martin, and Jan and Steve Randle. In addition, more than 250 generous patrons and people from the community have contributed to this project.

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September 25, 2015

Wichita Art Museum rolls out the "green" carpet with art garden grand opening

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