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Archive for Thursday, July 27, 2006

Artist proposes creating sculpture trail by river

July 27, 2006

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Marie Thompson said she knows many Lawrence residents prefer to avoid the Kansas River, though it flows just north of the city's popular downtown.

"A lot of people don't come down to the water because they feel creeped out," Thompson said.

Thompson, though, is trying to build momentum for a project to clean up at least a portion of the river - by using art.

Thompson, a Leavenworth artist and a member of the Lawrence Art Guild, envisions turning a narrow dirt trail that connects Burcham Park and Constant Park into an improved sculpture trail featuring art works that can double as wildlife habitat.

"I think it is a very elegant idea," said Baldwin sculptor Matt Kirby, one of several artists who have expressed support for the project. "I think it will be very neat to go into an environment that is a little bit wild and then find human-made structures that are meant to interact with the environment."

The idea is working its way through Lawrence City Hall. City commissioners have asked the Lawrence Arts Commission and the Parks and Recreation Department to look at the proposal and make a formal recommendation. Thompson said the city has a lot to gain from the idea. Constant Park is just north of downtown, near Sixth and Kentucky streets, and Burcham Park is near Third and Indiana streets in the historic Pinckney Neighborhood.

"I think it could be a great resource," Thompson said. "If you are visiting town, I think you would like to do something on the river. You just have to make it inviting."

Marie Thompson is organizing a Kaw River art project titled "Kansas River Expression of Soul Project." The project would incorporate eco-art pieces by contributing artists and scientists and would place these sculptures and art in an area along the river between Burcham and Constant parks. Thompson is pictured by the river near Burcham Park.

Marie Thompson is organizing a Kaw River art project titled "Kansas River Expression of Soul Project." The project would incorporate eco-art pieces by contributing artists and scientists and would place these sculptures and art in an area along the river between Burcham and Constant parks. Thompson is pictured by the river near Burcham Park.

Thompson also is not asking for any city money. Instead, she hopes to do much of the trail work with volunteer labor. She currently is working to take advantage of a unique Westar Energy program that provides such help for public projects that create interaction with the environment.

Brad Loveless, a biologist with the Topeka-based utility, said about 30 Westar employees and retirees do such projects as a hobby. Westar allows the use of some of their equipment on the projects.

"We're interested in it because it is a beautiful area down there, but it is not very accessible and there's nothing to draw people there and make them feel safe," Loveless said.

Thompson, though, will undertake fundraising to help cover expenses and pay artists selected for the project. She said she hopes to have the first piece of art in place by the end of the year to generate fundraising interest for future works.

Kirby - who has done several pieces for the area surrounding the Kansas Speedway - has committed to do the first piece. But he said it will be different from traditional works because all pieces must also serve as wildlife habitat.

He plans to use leftover concrete from a local concrete plant to create uniquely shaped objects that will be placed along the riverbank. The concrete blocks would help stabilize the riverbank and also provide new habitat for a variety of animals.

Comments

Marion Lynn 7 years, 8 months ago

Well, Marie Thompson is plenty attractive but with this proposal she is giving blondes a bad name.

Thanks.

Marion.

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Multidisciplinary 7 years, 8 months ago

Ideas...each piece should be as large as a jogger, and have handles. The piece should be able to rotate, so that a jogger can run behind it, using it as a shield between themselves and the big cats?

Or maybe just a moving art piece, like that flame that the terrifed jogger can smack as the run by, that is more attractive to the cat..like a cat toys? Maybe it could spring up in the air, have feathers, make the sounds of a hurt rabbit or something to divert it's attention.

Maybe they could all make panic alarm sounds for the fleeing joggers..to summon help?

How about Aunt Meg's twirlies from the movie "Twister". We could call them Gustnado-mabobs.

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Ward 7 years, 8 months ago

Kearney. WTF? You're all over the place. Guys in the woods and now you criticize the subject of the article bc you think she's had face work??? What is the point?

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Godot 7 years, 8 months ago

I think there is another connection to Austin in this proposal.

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Godot 7 years, 8 months ago

"the term "expressions of soul" makes me shudder a bit though ... a little too new-agey, thank you."

It means "concrete feet."

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Kearney 7 years, 8 months ago

You know....in the article, it doesn't say how old Marie Thompson is.

I can't really tell by looking at her face. You suppose she's had a little "face work"?? It kinda looks like she has.

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Kelly Powell 7 years, 8 months ago

Let me tell you what would happen to those sculptures....Within a year they would be spray painted, broken, thrown in the river or stolen.....I'd bet much money on that.

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ThePoolBoy 7 years, 8 months ago

At least they're using condoms...

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Kearney 7 years, 8 months ago

I'd just like to see the LPD step up patrols near the river (even if it means going undercover). Hey, if the LPD catches enough of these guys....the word will get out!--And the "activity" will end.

I'm sorry.....but guys doing other guys in the woods and then throwing their used condoms on the ground afterwards is positively gross!

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bretherite 7 years, 8 months ago

It won't be for familes - children will be banned due to the fact they will climb on the statues and might get hurt because mom won't be paying attention to them.

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Kontum1972 7 years, 8 months ago

hmmmm...Marie Thompson/Artist...nice to see ya slide over from 11worth. Art by the river, hmmmmm....i understand Prof. Emeritus Eldon Tefft's "Keeper's of the Universe" still needs some work done to it you might want to touch base with him i am sure he would appreciate the help (advice from one sculptor to another). Eldon knows sculpture. Glean from him while he is still with us, i learned alot from him when i mentored under him. Keep your chin up!

ps..nice pic!

Kontum

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Andini 7 years, 8 months ago

I hope there's a roundabout on this trail if it's built.

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JimmyJoeBob 7 years, 8 months ago

Kearney what would you have them do?

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JimmyJoeBob 7 years, 8 months ago

Let me see we don't have enough money for streets and sewers but we are considering spending money on more art. Let's wait until we can afford the necessities before we start spending money on other luxuories.

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Sandra Willis 7 years, 8 months ago

jabotb; I saw your test, what did you mean by that?

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Ken Miller 7 years, 8 months ago

Hows about some "art" in front of the old Farmland plant? Like a really really REALLY big piece so we don't have to look at Farmland?

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georgieporgie 7 years, 8 months ago

I don't know. I kind of like nature just the way it is. Do they have to use concrete? I wish there were other oulets for artistic imagination. Lawrence seems loaded with sculpture. If it's a temporary installation, I could go for it. But permanent...artistic styles change, tastes change, I'm afraid what they put up there will be considered ugly and garish in ten years. You know...quaint and unmeaningful. Concrete has been a popular medium for graffiti for centuries.

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NorthLawrenceDude 7 years, 8 months ago

Kearney, you sure know a lot about how things "work" down there. HMMMMMM.

At any rate, I am totally against this stupid idea. We enough so called "ART" (junk) in this town. Let Marie (hippie) put her junk somewhere that won;t spoil what is left of nature.

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mztrendy 7 years, 8 months ago

I actually prefer to look at the mountain lions by the river. Much more natural.

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Kearney 7 years, 8 months ago

...........but seriously, folks..........

This lady needs to get a clue! There can be nothing done to that river to make it "user/family-friendly" unless and until the Lawrence Police Dept. does something (once and for all) about all of them....dudes who sit alone in their car waiting for some other dude that they met on the Internet to pull into the lot...and then both of them get out of their cars and slowly walk into the woods (from different directions)....and then at some point they hook up behind a tree or whatever....and then when they're done, they leave their used condoms wherever---so that some poor, dumb sap who's walking his Labrador can stumble across it (the condom) a short time later.--And, what's really gross is if the Labrador spots the used condom first and he picks it up in his mouth!!!!

EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEWWWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!

GROSS!!!!!

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Kearney 7 years, 8 months ago

Oh, great!

Now let me ask all of you one question.....

How long do you suppose it will take before some momma brings her little ones to the river to check this stuff out.....and much to their horror (well, the momma's horror, anyway).....momma and her little ones stumble across two "down low" guys getting it on?! One guy is leaning against some sculpture....while another guy is standing directly....Ahem!......"behind" him.....doing you know what!

I guess maybe momma can try and fool her little ones by saying: "Oh, look, Dakota! Look Dylan! A human train sculpture! Isn't that swell? Now let's get out of here! Back to the mini-van we go! C'mon Dakota! C'mon Dylan! Let's go!"

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Confrontation 7 years, 8 months ago

The homeless could use the new sculptures as coat hangers and dressers.

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Christine Pennewell Davis 7 years, 8 months ago

go out side the city for wild ok. and it is probbly safer to do so.

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bialystocknbloom 7 years, 8 months ago

conservative the project wouldn't cost the city any money.

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Christine Pennewell Davis 7 years, 8 months ago

could be cool and if something was down there maybe cops would show a precence.

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clarkcoan 7 years, 8 months ago

It's about the only semi-wild trail in the central city. Let's keep it natural. --Mr. Trails

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bluerose 7 years, 8 months ago

the idea is interesting as long as the sculptures are natural and fit the surroundings and it doesn't eventually become paved and "landscaped". i love to walk that path. i've never felt afraid and have not seen homeless camps or even much trash along there. funny how people can manage to find fear anywhere...

the term "expressions of soul" makes me shudder a bit though ... a little too new-agey, thank you.

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billyflay 7 years, 8 months ago

sculptures are needed to enhance the natural beauty of the kaw?

BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

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common_cents 7 years, 8 months ago

"Thompson also is not asking for any city money. Instead, she hopes to do much of the trail work with volunteer labor. "

HOPES: definition - will propose it but will then ask for money if people want to be paid for their work.

One more silly thing we have to pay for while our infrastructure falls apart around us. At least we'll feel "safe" when we go down there... as often as we do, since most of the time we are WORKING to pay for our out of this world property taxes.

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RustyShackleford 7 years, 8 months ago

That is classic. If I weld a skillet to a ball of twine can I get a grant? It's bad enough we've got the ghastly structures we do downtown.

O, and come on: "dangerous?" If anyone thinks the river trail is a scary place I'd suggest they spend a few days in a city. Even Kansas City. If you're feeling adventurous South Chicago or Detroit or New Orleans. You'll come back feeling pretty damned comfortable in lovely Larry.

And to stand up for the homeless/undesirables here: Lawrence without those elements, along with assorted hippies, anarchists, actual working class neighborhoods, &c. is already out there for all of you who want to live there. It is called Lenexa.

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billyflay 7 years, 8 months ago

people are creeped out because no one likes playing near an cess pool,

the kaw is one of the dirtiest rivers in the country,

why not put sculptures on the edge of Hamm's sanitary landfill, the kaw and the dump both smell the same,

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superduper 7 years, 8 months ago

Poolboy:

I thought that's what the concrete habitats are for...the homeless. There's an idea fer yall :)

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conservative 7 years, 8 months ago

Gee, we need a sales tax increase, but we want to add sculptures for a little used, and sometimes dangerous area. Yeah, I'm real convinced the the city commission is doing all they can to trim our budget before rasing taxes.

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lu_hsien 7 years, 8 months ago

I don't understand, wouldn't the homeless want to live in a sculpture garden?

Anyway I'd like to see the drawings for the proposal.

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ThePoolBoy 7 years, 8 months ago

Great concept, Marie, but the trail and adjoining land isn't for sale. The sole purpose of the land can only be used for homeless camps. Because, see, if we don't allow them to live by the river or under the bridges, then we are forced to harm their dignity by encouraging them to live in our parks and downtown areas.

No one wants to live in a planter in downtown Lawrence. No one, Marie.

Don't force the homeless downtown. Don't invade their habitat. It's protected, ya know.

Think of the homless, Marie. Think of the homeless...

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