The site-specific public artwork entitled We Are a Bowl: "Empty Earthen Vessels Waiting to be Filled” is located at the new Kansas City Missouri Police Department’s Leon Mercer Jordan Campus that houses the East Patrol Station and Regional Crime Lab. The sculptural installation, over 63’ long by 18’ tall and 14’ wide, is a ceremonial community entrance to the new KCPD facility, intended as a meaningful bridge with the surrounding neighborhoods. It is the third largest Percent for Art Commission in the city’s history.
The project was centered around a comprehensive cultural engagement with hands-on workshops that touched nearly 1,000 people and 15 area schools, held in collaboration with ArtsTech, a local arts outreach organization dedicated to at-risk and adjudicated youth. Local students and neighbors of the campus were invited to join a “Throw Mud” event at several sessions in April 2015 at ArtsTech. Public artist, David Dahlquist, facilitated the week-long event with volunteers from the Kansas City Art Institute, the KC Clay Guild, and other arts groups that helped participants learn to throw bowls that would be incorporated into the installation. David also collaborated with local author, Glenn North, to commission a poem that uses “the bowl” as a metaphor for community. The pergola or arbor-like structure integrates cross-cultural symbols in terra cotta relief and custom glazed bowls, weaving together a story of peace and reconciliation in the aftermath of Ferguson. The integration of the artwork is critical to the development of the neighborhood. It has already served to build relationships and contribute a significant economic impact on Kansas City's eastside citizens and businesses. The campus represents an unprecedented investment in the Third District of Kansas City, Missouri.
From a functional perspective, collaboration was at the heart of innovation and experimentation. It led to new materials and techniques employed in the fabrication and installation of the project. But collaboration played a much greater role with respect to the site, its purpose, and its transformation. Public art is about people. A project of this nature depends upon bringing people together, first in a meaningful dialogue and then throughout the process. Communication becomes critical to building relationships. In this case, the public artwork and the role of the artist served as the bridge between the city, the police, the surrounding community, the myriad of professional design disciplines including architects and engineers, as well as fabricators and contractors—all working together to reach a successful and meaningful installation. The project took nearly three years to evolve. It would not have had a chance without design collaboration, without “design thinking” to address many different agenda and policies, respectful of diversity within the community.
ArtsTech Throwing Mud
Public Workshops for KCPD RDG Dahlquist Art Studio project
ArtsTech Kansas City
ArtsTech Kansas City
Share Via Email
CODA: Collaboration of Design + Art
The global online community that celebrates design projects featuring commissioned artworks.
[ manifesto ]
Art matters. Attention to the details of our environment leads to love of place, which brings us to take responsibility for the spaces where we live and work. And by extension, the people with whom we live and work. And by extension, to our local communities, our cities, our nations, and our world.
We champion the role of artists in our society. We need artists to provide us with inspiration, creativity, and imagination, and to help us envision a better world.
Architects and designers know that remarkable design can change everything. They connect the dots across disciplines, collaborating with artists to make the world a more beautiful place. They are the ultimate patrons of the arts.
In the process, design professionals promote imagination and creativity, and through their commissions, make original art integral to and accessible in people's lives.
Art in our public and private spaces helps us fight ordinary buildings, ordinary streets, ordinary cities. We celebrate the extraordinary.
The architecture of our buildings and the design of our interiors affect our happiness and well-being. Each of us deserves a daily dose of inspiration.