After years in the making, Roeland Park citizens group celebrates installation of new R Park sculpture

See Red Run now stands in R Park in Roeland Park. Photo credit city of Roeland Park.

More than a dozen Roeland Park residents gathered at R Park on a brilliant morning Wednesday to watch a project years in the making come to fruition.

Sarasota, Fla., artist Jorge Blanco was on hand to oversee the installation of his new sculpture, entitled “See Red Run,” which was made possible through the efforts of the Citizens Sculpture Initiative for R Park group, with support from the Roeland Park Arts Advisory Committee and Parks Committee.

Artist Jorge Blanco, right, oversaw the installation of the sculpture Wednesday.

Blanco lauded the group for its collaboration with him on the design and development of the project.

“This is different from other experiences, because the community was involved very close to me during the whole process of the creation and construction of this piece,” he said. “I’m very happy with this experience, with the communication between the artist and the community.”

The citizens group led efforts to raise $63,000 to fund the project. More than 300 individuals, family foundations and companies, including First National Bank, donated to make the project possible.

The abstract sculpture is reminiscent of some of Blanco’s other locally displayed works, the statues of runners that border the soccer fields at Leawood Park in Leawood. The abstract design features a six-foot tall runner figure surrounded by three yellow rings marked with R’s — a nod to the three R’s of education (“reading, ‘riting and ‘rithmetic”) and the park site’s former history as Roeland Park Elementary School.

“We are excited to unveil the long-awaited sculpture and celebrate with our residents,” said Gretchen Davis, of the Citizens Sculpture Initiative for R Park. “‘See Red Run!’ will bring color and energy to our already vibrant community.”

City Administrator Keith Moody praised the unique arrangement that made the project possible.

“From concept to visioning to fund raising and artist selection and finally planning and execution making Red a reality has been a citizen’s initiative,” Moody said. “Roeland Park is a great community because of the passion residents have for seeing an opportunity and making it a reality, Red has great symbolism incorporated into his design, for me he symbolizes what is great about Roeland Park, our residents.”