Client: Johnson County Library at Lenexa City Center, Kansas
Location: Lenexa, KS, United States
Completion date: 2019
Artwork budget: $205,000
Stephen T. Johnson
Mayer of Munich
Johnson County, Kansas
Public Building Commission
Facilities Management Department
Public Art Commission
Interconnections, a triptych of mosaic murals, each one measuring 23.5 feet tall by 5.5 feet wide and created for the Johnson County Library at Lenexa City Center, Lenexa, Kansas, celebrates the twenty-six letters of the English alphabet through a profusion of typographic fonts, both uppercase and lowercase, intermixed with images from the artists books — Alphabet City, Alphabet School, and A is for Art: An Abstract Alphabet. This artwork was made possible by a 1% grant for public art by the Johnson County Public Art Commission and the Public Building Commission of Johnson County.
Johnson says: "The goal of Interconnections is to inspire visitors to the library to view our world in a fresh and playful way, and in so doing, discover for themselves juxtapositions of scale, color harmonies, rhythms in surface textures, and joy in what may seem unremarkable or ordinary, by transcending the mundane and unearthing its hidden beauty."
Franz Mayer of Munich worked directly with the artist, getting to know his working methods and visual language, to achieve a dazzling translation of his collage-like imagery. Artisans employed irregularly cut glass cake and gems combined with Italian and Mexican smalti to make a highly charged surface that delights the eye and animates it's architectural setting.
The dynamic visual integrity of the work is embraced by regular educational programming for early literacy. “6 by 6 : Ready to Read!” helps families cultivate reading at home with 6 skills they can practice with kids, before they turn 6 years of age. ‘Look for Letters Everywhere’ and ‘Notice Print All Around You’ are used regularly during story time and other programs. Stephen T. Johnson’s art is located in site-specific public art commissions, gallery and museum exhibitions, and original award-winning children’s books such “Alphabet City,” a Caldecott Honor and a New York Times Best Illustrated book of the year.