Laumeier Sculpture Park Docents trip to KC - February 14-15, 2014 (l to r - Maureen Jennings, Clara Coleman, Ray Flunker, Mary Brauch, Janet Petersobn, Holly Goldfarb, Jeanette Wamser)
On the heels of our successful trip to Chrystal Bridges (November 2012) and with a new 2014 season approaching, LSP docent co-chairs Maureen Jennings and Wes Morgan, with the guidance of the park’s director of interpretation, Clara Coleman, decided to orchestrate a trip to Kansas City for Valentine’s Day, a Friday and the following Saturday. The trip by way of Amtrak train service on the River Runner Line to and from would allow for a civilized and cost-effective overnight from the Kirkwood Train Station.
We pulled into Kansas City on time at 2:55 and our complimentary shuttle from the Best Western Seville was waiting. A quick check in at the hotel and by 4:00 we were at the information desk in the new Bloch Building addition to the Nelson Atkins Museum. Taking advantage of the remaining sunlight in the day we ventured into the frozen snow and ice that covered the 22 acre Donald Hall Sculpture Garden. The heartiest of us managed to traverse the challenging terrain to get up close to 2 of the four shuttlecock sculptures by Claes Oldenburg, and several of the 13 Henry Moore sculptures strategically on display. Of course, all of us appreciated seeing Mark Di Suvero and Judith Shea works that seem like new looks at old friends since we are accustomed to talking about the works on display at our Laumeier Sculpture Park.
Our crew is well represented with June Shaw, Mary Brauch, Barb Flunker (and her husband Ray), Jeanette Wamser, Maureen Jennings, Wes Morgan and Clara Coleman. We’ll be catching up with Janet Peterson who opted to travel by car. Her sister is a docent at the Nelson-Atkins Museum.
We scheduled a docent tour with an emphasis on the sculpture collection and with that starting point we were given an overview of the park, sculpture, contemporary art and more – all in the context of the bigger picture. Misty, our docent understood immediately that our group of art lovers will be easy to engage yet a challenge to serve in only 90 minutes. She did this expertly. She managed to take our group, starting with the peace and calm of the space devoted to Isamu Naguchi to the upstairs balcony where we could see Aguste Rodin studies for the Gates of Hell and Balzac. We dined at the museum to a violinist along with couples celebrating a special setting for a Friday night Valentine.
The Kansas City Art Institute professor of sculpture Michael Wickerson was an awesome boost of energy for our Saturday morning visit to the KCAI campus. Michael had several students on hand to share what it is like to pour aluminum into sand casts but he is quick to point out that the studio and the furnaces need to be approached with careful planning and safety in mind. He and his students cannot hide their enthusiasm for art. Our group is thrilled to see emerging artists being nurtured by such a capable instructor.
The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art is just a short walk down the street from KCAI and we manage to get a bite to eat before our final scheduled docent tour treat. Chijuly, Stella, Louise Nevelson, another Claes Oldenburg. We managed our time well and got to see a lot. Kansas City is a great Art destination (due in no small part to the Halls, Blochs, Kempers and the Ford Foundation).
This account does not do justice to the amount we were able to see but maybe it provides some insight into the spirit of our team and the passion of art lovers everywhere. Thank You KC!
Rodin's Thinker at Nelson Atkins Museum - KC
Claes Oldenburg Shuttlecock at Nelson Atkins Museum KC
Michael Wickerson and Student at KCAI pouring aluminium mold at foundry
Holly Goldfarb and Maureen Jennings; June Shaw and Wes Morgan; Ends by Isamu Naguchi 1985
Barb Flunker and Wes Morgan at Nelson-Atkins Museum (KC)
in front of George Rickey's Two Planes - Vertical/Horizontal