Lenexa approves expenditure of $98,000 on new public art piece for recreation center

Sheng’s rendering of the design for the piece, which will be installed inside the Lenexa Recreation Center’s atrium.

Another piece of public art in Lenexa is officially underway after the City Council approved the final design and fabrication documents for “Splash” by San Francisco artist Shan Shan Sheng for the atrium near the Lenexa Recreation Center’s south entrance.

“Splash” comprises 31 pieces of cold-cast glass panels suspended 16 feet to 18 feet off the floor, the largest of which is about 6 feet long and weighs about 25 pounds, Parks and Recreation Director Gary Ristow told the council at its Tuesday meeting. The council unanimously granted approval; Ward 3 Councilman Dan Roh was absent.

The city had agreed to pay Sheng, through her business East West Art Studio, $98,800 for the artwork, according to council documents for its March 6 meeting. Parks and Recreation staff will install the art under Sheng’s supervision. Completion of its installation is tentatively scheduled for late September.

The money for “Splash” comes from the city’s $400,000 budget for public art on the Civic Campus, funded by a $150,000 line item in the Civic Center project budget and $250,000 from the Parks and Recreation Impact Fee Zone 2 art funds and the Capital Improvement Fund for arts.

The city will own the copyright to the artwork, and the city’s written consent is required for Sheng to “produce, reproduce, sell or market any substantially similar artwork,” according to the council documents.

“While we’re on the topic of art: Do we have any pieces that are real valuable that are not secure?” Mayor Michael Boehm asked Ristow at Tuesday’s meeting. The subject received recent media coverage after the city of Overland Park asked an Overland Park family to pay $132,000 for damages to a statute displayed at the Tomahawk Ridge Community Center after a young boy knocked it over. The city claims the parents insufficiently monitored the child, but the parents said the statue wasn’t bolted down or otherwise secured.

Ristow assured Boehm that Lenexa’s artworks were safely secured but added that Parks and Recreation was “reviewing some of our policies.”

In April, the Lenexa council approved final design and fabrication documents for another public artwork, “Body Politic” by artist Joe O’Connell of Creative Machines Inc., based in Tucson, Ariz., to be installed at the west end of the Lenexa Commons on the City Center Campus. The city will pay O’Connell a fixed fee of $180,000 for the artwork, which is slated for completion early in the fall.