After just 2 months, Roeland Park group already 60 percent of way to fundraising goal for new sculpture in park

Members of the Arts Advisory Committee and Citizens Sculpture Initiative for R Park celebrated as WCA’s Tom Coffman presented a check to Mayor Mike Kelly. Photo courtesy Citizens Sculpture Initiative for R Park.

A group of Roeland Park residents got a welcome addition to their efforts to raise money for a new sculpture at R Park in May when WCA, the city’s waste hauler, presented them with a check for $1,000.

A model of the proposed sculpture.

Roeland Park’s governing body gave its blessing to the initiative to raise around $60,000 for the sculpture of a running figure elevated on two eight-foot poles in March. The sculpture would be commissioned for Florida artist Jorge Blanco, who crafted the similar pieces installed along the soccer fields at Leawood City Park.

The group has had great success in its early fundraising efforts, hitting 60 percent of its goal in just two months of work.

It’s just the latest push by the citizen’s group to add new features and beautification to R Park. The group has helped provide financing that helped provide a trail, signage, picnic tables, benches, trash receptacles and bike rack over the past four years.

The R Park master plan designates seven locations throughout the park, which sits on the former Roeland Park Elementary school site, for public art. (The park was named R Park in part in reference to “The 3 Rs” of education in tribute to the former use of the site). The Blanco sculpture would be the first.

“Public art is uplifting, inspirational and enticing,” said Gretchen Davis of the R Park citizen’s group. “Art fortifies the intent of parks which is to bring people in a community together in a beautiful, outdoor space for fun and for mental/physical well-being.”

Anyone interested in contributing to the final fundraising goal for the sculpture can make a tax-deductible donation to the Roeland Park Community Foundation. Checks should be made payable to “Roeland Park Community Foundation,” with the memo, “R Park Sculpture.” You can mail checks to Roeland Park City Hall, 4600 W. 51st St., Roeland Park, KS 66205.