KC Parks News

  1. Fountains Exhibit and Auction Opens on First Friday

    Nyle Gordon Sea HorseKansas City’s favorite art walk, First Friday in the Crossroads district, has a surprise in store for visitors on Septrember 5.  Art Walk revelers will be transported by bus from the Crossroads to the Buttonwood Art Space at 3013 Main to see a full house of new paintings of Kansas City’s famous fountains. The featured art is part of the City of Fountains Foundation’s On-line Art Auction to raise funds for local fountains in need of repair.

    The bus, which arrives at the NE corner of 20th and Main every 20 minutes from 5-8 p.m., will  bring revelers south to the Buttonwood to see the fountain paintings and return them to the same location. Artists will be available at the Buttonwood from 5-8 to interact with the visitors who will enjoy traditional First Friday refreshments. Bidding for the paintings will begin that evening at the gallery and ends September 25th.

    Artists began painting at local fountains in June and completed their Plein Air works in August for submittal to the second On-line Art Auction. The first Auction in 2013 raised over $4000 to repair local fountains that are the target of the Foundations Wish Upon A Fountain campaign. The effort, which began in 2013, hopes to raise $3.2 million for the nine fountains in need of critical repairs.  Kansas City has opened its pockets to the tune of over $2 million to date but over $1 million is still needed to return the fountains to their original condition. Artists are certainly doing their share by offering 50% of the sale of their work for the fountains.

    Visitors can view the large collection at the Buttonwood on Septrember 5 and from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.weekdays through September 25 when the bidding for the art at the on-line at www.kcfountains.com ends. All of Kansas City now has an opportunity to help the fountains and get an original work of fountain art by purchasing it at the on-line auction.

  2. Orangutan Canopy Ground Breaking at KC Zoo

    KCZoo Orangutan Canopy ImageConstruction of Kansas City Zoo’s new Orangutan Canopy is underway as the official ground breaking took place on Wednesday, August 27.

    Designed to highlight the fascinating aspects of orangutans, the 3,400 square foot outdoor habitat will challenge their dexterity and intelligence. From the forest floor to the treetops, there will be motivational tools to encourage instinctual behaviors. A grove of artificial and flexible yet extremely strong trees, poles and vines will provide climbing, exploring and resting areas above the naturally planted contoured forest floor. Guests will view the orangutans from several vantage points including a canopy level open-air shelter with a 40’ long viewing window. Nearby, a special access door will allow Zoo Keepers to conduct live demonstrations and training exercises delighting the senses of all ages.

    The indoor renovated orangutan room is being transformed into an “Orangutan University.” Brightly painted walls, new skylights and colorful climbing structures create a fitness studio for orangutans and a learning lab for them and our guests. Interactions between orangutans and guests via computer monitors make comparisons and offer understandings of the close cognitive and physical traits humans share with these apes.

    Making the transition between the canopy and “Orangutan University” is a hillside trail boasting climbing structures, orangutan exercises and educational conservation messages. Education concerning the largest tree-living mammals in the world is important. In 2014, the Orangutan Conservancy believes orangutans lost over 80% of their habitat in the last 20 years with only about 40,000 orangutans remaining in Borneo and Sumatra. That’s 20,000 less than 10 years ago.

    The Zoological District along with many donors helped make Orangutan Canopy possible. A special thank you to the foundations of: the Hall Family, Sunderland, Sosland, Dixon Family and the Cohen Family, for their APE-mazing support of Orangutan Canopy and their continued fondness of the Kansas City Zoo.
    Designed with the great, wise orangutan in mind, careful thought and precise measurements were considered to let their immense physical, social and intellectual abilities run “wild.” Orangutan Canopy is scheduled to open to the public in the summer of 2015.



  3. Garden Faire Coming to Loose Park

    Garden Faire is shaping up to be an autumnal garden extravaganza!

    On Saturday, September 20, Gardeners Connect, with the help of KC Parks, has put together a day of gardening programs and information sharing  involving  a variety of horticultural groups in the Kansas City area.

    In addition, there will be a sale of donated garden books in the Fern Room in the basement of the Garden Center. As in years passed, books will be affordably priced.

    A tent in front of the Garden Center will host short programs beginning at 9 a.m. and ending at 4 p.m. Affiliate organizations of Gardeners Connect will give programs that will change every half hour. Some of the groups plan to have free drawings for prizes right after their program. Be sure to get a door prize ticket. There will also be children’s activities.

    In addition, affiliate organizations will have tables set up in the Rose Room of the Garden Center where their members can answer questions about their specialties and groups.

    Schedule of Presentations (subject to change)

    9 a.m. — Johnson County Master Gardeners, Johnson County Master Gardener Bud Smith plans to talk about “Container Gardening.”

    9:30 a.m. — Greater Kansas City Herb Study Group Lynn Soulier, an avid organic gardener and co-creator of Gardens of Delight near Parkville Mo., a center for natural healing, will talk about “Tending the Herbal Tea Garden.”

    10 a.m. — Orchid Society of Greater Kansas City, Mark Prout will give a presentation on orchid growing basics.

    10:30 a.m. — Powell Gardens, Jennifer Barnes, senior gardener for the Perennial Garden at Powell Gardens.

    11 a.m. — Heartland Hosta & Shade Plant Society, Phil Alley, an avid hosta collector who with his wife, Gayle, has created a hosta wonderland in acres of gardens around his hand-built log cabin home near Greenwood, Mo., will talk about creating their garden in a program titled “The Evolution of a Garden”

    11:30 a.m. — Heartland Peony Society

    Noon —  Monarch Watch, Communications Coordinator Angie Babbit will talk about “Creating a Monarch Habitat in your Garden.”

    12:30 p.m. — Greater Kansas City Iris Society, Jerry Hoke, president of the iris society, will demonstrate and discuss iris dividing and care.

    1 p.m. — Mo-Kan Daylily Society

    1:30 p.m. — Master Gardeners of Greater Kansas City, Master Gardener Chris Veach will talk about “Beneficial Bugs in the Garden.”

    2 p.m. —  Greater Kansas City Cactus & Succulent Society, Judy Pigue will talk about “Growing Cacti and Succulents in Kansas City.”

    2:30 p.m. — Greater Kansas City Dahlia Society

    3 p.m. — Kansas City Rose Society, Katrina Stevenson, board member of the Kansas City Rose Society

    3:30 p.m. — Mid-America Begonia Society

    Other groups whose leaders have acknowledged interest in taking part in Garden Faire: Bonsai Society of Greater Kansas City, Heart of America Gesneriad Society and the Johnson County Rose Society.


  4. Celebration Held for Cleaver Blvd. II Streetscape Improvements

    Cleaver CongressmanOn August 16, Kansas City, Missouri Parks and Recreation Commissioners, City Officials, and Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II hosted a ribbon cutting to celebrate streetscape improvements along Emanuel Cleaver II Boulevard from Rockhill Road to The Paseo. Orange Ribbons on Cleaver Boulevard  was the theme to honor of the spirit of the boulevard’s namesake, Emanuel Cleaver II, who believes “there is more power in unity than division”.  The color orange is said to represent cultural diversity, racial harmony and civility. Decorative orange ribbons were placed on street light poles in the area in honor of the event and an orange ribbon was used for the ceremonial ribbon cutting.

    Streetscape improvements include:

    • Mill, overlay and re-stripe lane configuration, adding bike lanes
    • New curb and sidewalk
    • New street lights and pedestrian lights
    • Decorative stamped concrete crosswalks at Troost, and at Tracy
    • Stormwater planters, street trees and other landscaping from Harrison east to The Paseo
    • New semi-custom Bus Shelters, with solar powered LED lighting, in 3 locations
  5. News from KC Parks:BRUSH CREEK ART WALK, September 12-14

    BCAW14Everyone is invited!  The public is invited to come out to the Brush Creek Art Walk and stroll the newly completed, nearly 4-miles of walkways along Brush Creek while musicians play and painters paint.  Plein-Air Painters will have three days to complete paintings on-site along the creek.  Artists will enter their finished paintings for a chance to show in the Gallery at Bruce R. Watkins.

    September 26,  5-7:30pm
    Gallery at Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Heritage Center

    The public is invited to view the Juried Paintings of Brush Creek on display.  Prizes will be awarded to winning artists at 6 p.m. and the paintings will be for sale.  The Juror for the second annual Brush Creek Art Walk is to be announced. The paintings will remain on display for three weeks until October 24th.  The Gallery is open to the public: Tuesday – Saturday 10am-6pm, located at 3700 Blue Parkway.


    This year will be featuring three  Quick Paint Events:

    Friday, September 12, 4-6 p.m. – Plaza Pedestrian Bridge – Purchase Prize award: $500

    Saturday, September 13, 4-6 p.m. – Lake by Brush Creek Community Center – Purchase Prize award: $500

    Sunday, September 14, 4-6:30pm – Theis Park during Concert – Purchase Prize award: $750

    All participating Artists are invited to join us!!

    Music is planned outside in Theis Park on Sunday, September 14 from 3-7 p.m.  Our fabulous free Music Concert lineup includes . . .Az One, Barclay Martin & Rick Willoughby, and more at Theis Park Amphitheater.

    For more information, visit the Brush Creek Art Walk website and Facebook page.

    All Artists are welcome – “Early Bird” registration is $35 until Sept. 5.  Late registration $45  Sept. 6-14. Artists can register by visiting the website: http://www.brushcreekartwalk.org/

    Plein-Air Painters will have three days to complete paintings on-site along the creek.  Artists will enter their finished paintings for a chance to show in the Gallery at Bruce R. Watkins on September 26, 2014.  Paintings will be painted entirely on-site, “en plein air” means “in the open air”, during the three day event. Four zones have been designated along Brush Creek with prizes for the top paintings awarded in each zone.

    Stroll the newly completed walkways!! From Roanoke Road east to Elmwood, there is a now a continuous trail along the Creek. Our scenic riverwalk has been completed with the new connection at Troost Avenue. Brush Creek has gone through a major transformation since the devastating flooding back in 1977.  Several new bridges have been built, the creek has been reshaped, and landscaping, walkways, and fountains have created a beautiful greenway.

    We are  very grateful to our Sponsors for making this event possible: Kansas City Missouri Parks and Recreation; The Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City; Bruce R. Watkins Cultural heritage Center; The Missouri Valley Impressionist Society; The Kansas City Star & Ink Magazine; Sprint; David Field Oliver through the Francis Family Foundation; The Bridge 90.9

  6. Shoal Creek Parkway Opens

    Shoal Creek Pkwy RCOn August 8, the City of Kansas City, Missouri dedicated a newly-built expanse of Shoal Creek Parkway between North Woodland Avenue and North Harrison Street. The $2.5-million roadway improvement extends Shoal Creek Parkway west, connecting sections of the roadway that had been separate for years. Work on the project began in late 2013 and final landscaping work will finish later this year.

    Councilman Ed Ford, Parks Commissioner David Mecklenburg, Public Works Director Sherri McIntyre and Parks and Recreation Director Mark L. McHenry  joined representatives of the North Kansas City School District and City staff at the brief dedication.