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Fourth of July celebration details announced; The Met makes major purchase of works by Lawrence artist


It is time to start making those Fourth of July plans. Start peeling the potatoes for the salad, dig the hole for the pig roast, and build the access road, concrete launching pad, and the 122 -foot-deep safety bunker for the "fireworks" show.

Or, some of you may just want to note the details of the Lawrence July 4 community celebration. Several of you have asked whether the party in Watson Park is returning, and indeed it is.

Jay Wachs of the local Internet radio station Lawrencehits.com is one of the organizers this year, and he gave me a host of details. Among them are:

— Gates open at 4:30 p.m. on July 4 at Watson Park. The fireworks show will begin at about 9:45.

— Wachs expects 13 locally owned restaurants that are part of the Lawrence Originals organization to be on hand to serve food. The event is free to enter, and people simply can buy what food and beverages they desire from the variety of food vendor booths. (Did somebody say beverages? Yes, the event has received a permit from the city to allow beer sales.)

— Five area bands will play throughout the evening. (No, not at the same time. That would get confusing.) The first band is set to take the stage at 5 p.m.

— Organizers have arranged to have a larger children's play area at the event. Laugh Out Loud and Theatre Lawrence are hosting the play area.

— The gazebo area in Watson Park — that's the "train park" near Sixth and Kentucky, by the way — will serve as a spoken word stage. Wachs plans to have a poet, theater performances and even a magician on hand. (A magician? Maybe he can make my "fireworks" bill disappear. Or maybe the ticket for violating the "noise ordinance" or the "fire code" or the "non-proliferation treaty.")

The event, which is dubbed Party in the Park 2014, has three major organizers: Lawrencehits.com, the restaurant marketing group Lawrence Originals, and the Lawrence Jaycees, which is the organizational force behind the actual fireworks display.

This year the Fourth of July is on a Friday, so Wachs is expecting large crowds. Wachs estimated about 15,000 people attended last year's event, and he believes a crowd of near 20,000 is possible this year.

It won't be the only event downtown either. Abe & Jake's Landing, which is right next to City Hall along the Kansas River, will be hosting a viewing party. The event will have a $5 entry fee, which will benefit Ballard Community Services. The landing is well situated to see the fireworks display, which is shot off from the Kansas River levee. The event also will provide you a chance to partake in the other Independence Day display of colors — barbecue sauce all over your shirt. Mr. Bacon BBQ will be serving at the event.

In other news and notes from around town:

• Fireworks aren't the only beauty Lawrence produces. The city is home to several renowned artists, and one recently has made a major sale to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.

Twenty screen prints by Lawrence artist Roger Shimomura recently were acquired by the museum for its permanent collection. The prints are Oriental Masterprint #6 through Oriental Masterprint # 25. They were hand printed by Shimomura in his Kansas University faculty studio from 1974 to 1976.

Shimomura, who is a Lawrence resident, taught art at KU from 1969 to 2004, when he retired as a distinguished professor. Shimomura has gained international recognition as an artist who addresses sociopolitical issues, especially related to Japanese-Americans. Shimomura and his family were confined to a concentration camp for Japanese-Americans during part of World War II. I interviewed Shimomura about that experience in 2011.

Shimomura continues to be active in the art world. He is currently working on a mural for a Seattle low-income housing project.

Oriental Masterprint #16 by Roger Shimomura

Oriental Masterprint #16 by Roger Shimomura by Chad Lawhorn


Clark Coan 3 years, 7 months ago

That's quite a coup for Roger. I like his artwork, but it doesn't get a little repetitive with the same theme.

3 years, 7 months ago

Way to go Roger!! What wonderful news...congrats.

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