FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 1, 2005
Parks Board approves Liberty Memorial artwork
Future visitors to Kansas City’s Liberty Memorial will be greeted by some artwork designed to reflect the historical treasures in the museum.
The Kansas City Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners unanimously approved installation of a commemorative gate at the Liberty Memorial at its June 29 meeting.
Massachusetts sculptor Ellen Driscoll designed the 42-foot sliding gates to represent a diverse collage of people, symbols and events related to World War I. The lower stainless steel panels will be perforated to create a silhouetted rendering of a photograph of Scottish Highlander soldiers leaving a battlefield. Mosaics lining the top of each gate will be a composite of photographic images of individual soldiers, fields and battle scenes in addition to badges representing the different military services that participated in the war.
At night, the gates will serve as physical barriers to vehicular traffic. When the gates are open during the day, they will form a larger memorial wall at the front of the south entrance to the memorial.
"This outdoor artwork will provide a marvelous opportunity to give a taste of the historical treasures that await the museum visitor,” said Liberty Memorial Museum director Eli Paul. “Ellen Driscoll has captured in steel and tile the essence of the rich collections of a national museum."
Driscoll, a professor of sculpture at the Rhode Island School of Design, is renowned for construction of elaborate, thematically powerful public art projects. Her mosaic mural, “As Above, So Below,” expressed cosmological theories, the movement of the sun, moon, and stars drawn from many cultures, while her 1995 installation of mechanized sculptures in New York’s SoHo addressed the 19th-century medical conception of hysteria.
“Ellen is a highly regarded artist and she really did her homework for this artwork,” said Porter Arneill, director of the Municipal Art Commission. “She visited battle sites in Europe and worked very closely with the Liberty Memorial curator, Doran Cart, to select the imagery she’s using throughout each gate.”
A panel of community representatives selected Driscoll for this project. The gates, which will be installed prior to the November 11, 2006 opening of the Liberty Memorial Museum, will be the latest edition to the City of Kansas City’s One-Percent-for-Art Program, administered by the Municipal Art Commission. Along with over 300 other U.S. cities and counties, this program stipulates that one percent of municipal building construction/renovation costs be set aside for public art enhancements.
Media inquiries about this issue should be directed to Sean Demory, public relations specialist in the Capital Improvements Management Office, (816) 513-0059.