Art About Town: Love and Peace at Lakeside Nature Center


Kansas City’s One Percent for Art collection boasts the work of many local artists and designers including Warren Rosser, Allan Winkler, Michael Toombs, Jim Woodfill, el dorado architects, Leigh Rosser and Julia Cole, Stretch, Christian Mann, and Egawa + Zbryk. Through their work, the city’s public art collection is highlighted with the originality and authenticity of our unique creative character.

Another local artist represented in the city’s collection is Ken Ferguson, long-time chair of the Kansas City Art Institute’s ceramics department and well-known American artist.

Sadly, Ken passed away in 2004 but his legacy lives on through his ceramic works in collections around the country and happily, through three delightful sculptures at the award-winning Lakeside Nature Center in Swope Park designed by the local architectural firm, International Architects Atelier.

As visitors approach the entry, they first encounter The Race is Not Always to the Swift atop a pedestal in the plaza garden. This artwork — based on the famed Aesop fable about an overzealous rabbit and a wisely methodical turtle — is fitting because for much of his career, Ferguson’s work was dominated by images of a hare derived masterfully from a variety of real and mythical sources. In The Race is Not Always to the Swift, Ferguson combines his iconic hare with the nature center’s icon, the tortoise, in a race to an unexpected finish.

The next artwork visitors see is Rabbit Hiding from Fox, located in the main lobby area of the nature center. The inspiration for this artwork comes from southern folklore revolving around a witty trickster rabbit bamboozling a hungry fox by continually moving to
the side of a hollow log opposite the fox’s teeth.

And, overlooking the nature center from a delicate perch mounted high on one of the Center’s massive hewn wooden columns, Two Doves Sitting On a Branch Up High symbolize love and peace. This is how, the artist says, “We should see the world and all of the animals.”

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