Artist: Karen Slack
History: In the 1970s, an agreement between Kansas City Parks and Recreation and the Sculpture Department of the Kansas City Art Institute was made to display chosen student sculptures from the Art Institute on Kansas City’s boulevards and parkways. This helped fulfill the idea of KCPR to add art and interest to the boulevards at very little cost, and gave the students an opportunity to have their artistic creations on temporary display. The ownership stayed with the student and the KCPR Board of Commissioners retained the right to remove or replace the sculpture at any time.
One of these students was Karen Slack. Her creation was a 16-foot metal sculpture which she envisioned as type of gate along the lines of a Japanese gate called a torii. Karen was from near Manhattan, Kansas. Before her sculpture was placed in Kansas City, she was killed by a hit-and-run driver as she was walking in Manhattan in August 1979.
Karen’s parents gave the sculpture to KCPR and it was put in Wilbur Dunn Park at 67th and The Paseo, which was one of the possible locations that Karen proposed for the sculpture’s placement. It was dedicated in August 1981.