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Archive for Tuesday, July 23, 1996

EVERYONE CAN BE A CRITIC OF REC CENTER ART PROPOSALS

July 23, 1996

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A new gym, games room, commons area and offices would be graced with new public art at the remodeled East Lawrence Recreation Center.

A mosaic, panels of stained glass and a suspended sculpture should welcome visitors to the remodeled East Lawrence Recreation Center next year, an art committee recommends.

The three public art projects would work in unison to emphasize the center's focus of community participation, said Dan Sabatini, the center's project architect. Officials released information about the proposals Monday.

Lawrence residents will be invited to comment on the artists' proposals next week, in time for adjustments to be incorporated before they go before the Lawrence City Commission for approval Aug. 6.

If all three projects win approval, residents young and old would be asked to start work, Sabatini said. Public school students and others even would be invited to design and create the mosaics, fitting together small pieces of ceramics and glass to create a public welcome for a popular public building.

"In my mind, art and architecture should inspire people," said Sabatini, architect for the center's $2.045 million expansion. "If we can offer anybody the desire to go beyond just shooting hoops, that's great. It's also an opportunity to expose people to art.

"These are not going to be Picasso paintings. This is going to be approachable art."

The city would spend $47,500 for the works, to be created and installed by three separate artists and groups. Here's a rundown of the projects, as recommended by a committee that included Sabatini, city officials, Lawrence Arts Commission members and neighborhood residents and children:

  • Mosaics, by Dave Loewenstein and Amy Carlson of Lawrence. The $20,000 glass-and-ceramic works would be installed on the outdoor walls of the entry plaza. The art's theme focuses on the surrounding Brook Creek Park and children playing. "We don't know exactly what it's going to look like," Sabatini said. "The community's going to be the overall decider of that."
  • Stained glass, by Kathy Barnard of Kansas City, Mo. Her $13,750 project would feature a multicolored line of stained glass above the building's roof line, between the center's existing meeting room and new commons area.
  • Suspended sculpture, by Ardys Ramberg of Lawrence. The $13,750 project would create and install an aluminum, steel and wire depiction of the park, Brook Creek and East Lawrence history, and possibly abstract animals. Colored glass would tie the sculpture into Barnard's windows.

The proposals were selected from a pool of applications from 22 local and regional artists. The finalists' plans will be on display next week, from Monday to Aug. 3 in the lobby of the Lawrence Public library, 707 Vt.

"We're inviting public comment. They can say anything they want to," said Carol Jones, chair of the arts commission. "I have no idea what we'll come up with. We're open to anything."

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