Johnson County Community College
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'Kansa' finds a home


'Kansa' finds a home

Earthwork by artist Stan Herd will be dedicated April 25

“Study for Kansa” by Stan HerdOVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Kansa, the artwork that uses the earth as its canvas and plants as its paints, will be dedicated during an official ceremony at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 25, on the west side of the Johnson County Community College campus.

The public is invited to attend this free event.

Stan Herd, a Lawrence artist known internationally for his “earthworks,” created the piece on a quarter acre of land between the outdoor horticulture garden and the road leading to the sports parking lots.

The unique artwork became a part of the campus as a result of Herd’s visit to JCCC in November 2010. As a guest speaker for the Kansas Studies Institute, he talked about prairie art and introduced students to his own work.

James Leiker, director, Kansas Studies Institute, said, “At the time, the organizers [of the event] said, ‘Wouldn’t it be great if he could do something here?’ We began to work almost immediately on a way to get him back to campus.”

Kansa is a petroglyph inside the circle, inspired in part by author William Least Heat Moon’s “PrairyErth” drawing of an ancient petroglyph in a book of the same name, Herd said.  Also adding inspiration were drawings and Native American objects offered by Bruce Hartman, executive director, Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art located at JCCC.

The Center for American Indian Studies at JCCC also provided advice in choosing an indigenous design. Sean Daley, associate professor, anthropology, and director of the center, with help from center associates Ed Smith and Travis Brown, settled on a circular figure, representing cycles and harmony.

Ron Brave, representing The Center for American Indian Studies, will begin the dedication ceremonies with a special tribute to the land and the art.

Scheduled to speak are Herd; Leiker; Terry Calaway, JCCC president; and Melody Rayl, chair of the JCCC board of trustees.

Refreshments will be served after the ceremony on the terrace of the nearby Horticulture Science Center (HSC). In case of rain, the dedication ceremony and refreshments will be moved inside HSC.

The project is a collaboration among many departments on campus. Support and funding of the piece came from the Kansas Studies Institute, the Center for American Indian Studies, the Student Sustainability Committee, the art history department, the horticultural sciences department, the Nerman Museum and the president’s office.