Where Nature and Architecture Converge in Symphony

Prepare to embark on a captivating journey as LongHouse, the new visitor center at the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, opens its doors this September. After eight years of dedication, visioning, design, fundraising and construction, LongHouse is ready to transform the very essence of the Arboretum’s visitor experience.

The 21,000-square-foot building blends nature and architecture seamlessly, while offering a breathtaking backdrop for both public and private events. As you step through the majestic north entrance, a carefully curated sequence of amenities leads you to cascading reflecting pools and into the new garden entrance to the south.

Inside, LongHouse is organized in three pods, united by the grandeur of its main circulation spine, The Gallery.

The Celebration Pod unveils the culmination of LongHouse’s purpose, to gather the community. The Vision Room, a space where ideas take flight and possibilities are born, includes an outdoor patio. The Gathering Place, a breathtaking venue capable of hosting elegant receptions, inspiring presentations and more, opens onto the Waterside Terrace, perched gracefully beside the new upper pond.

The Administration Pod houses the gift shop, restrooms and administrative offices. The Education and Arts Pod houses a community room and Café Celeste.

“Conceptually, the building pods represent groupings of trees that are expressed as vertical elements that visually screen the functional elements contained beyond,” said Craig B. Serig, AIA, principal at DLR Group and lead architect on the project.

He added, “The roof shapes are expressed as curved edges representing the organic shape of leaves, while the laminated wood beams become the veining that supports the leaf structure. Combined, they form forest canopies that overlap to allow filtered and reflected light to playfully interact with the building elements throughout the day.”

The exterior material palate consists of Kansas limestone, high-performance glazing, wood beams, exposed wood decking and zinc-colored standing seam metal roofing. The interior palate includes limestone accents and frameless interior glazing systems. Acoustical plaster and wooden acoustical panels are incorporated throughout the building to control reverberation and enhance overall sound quality.

LongHouse is a testament to the harmonious blending of natural elements and architectural brilliance, offering a picturesque setting that transforms life’s special moments into unforgettable memories.

From Creation to Exhibition: The Stems Plein Air Painting Journey

Stems Plein Air Paint, the beloved annual competition art event, returned this year in partnership with Friends of Overland Park Arts and The Rice Gallery of Fine Art.

The Stems Plein Air Paint feature show is currently on display and open to the public at The Rice Gallery of Fine Art through the month of July. The exhibit continues in August at Tomahawk Ridge Community Center, with an opening reception on Thursday, Aug. 3.

How did this exhibition come about? Throughout the month of May, artists were encouraged to head outside and paint en plein air, which means “in the open air” in French, at various locations around the greater Kansas City area. Quick paint sessions were held at the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens and
in Downtown Overland Park, with a $500 purchase award for
the winning painting of each session.

Additionally, participating artists who submitted original plein air paintings for consideration in the competition were eligible for summer exhibitions and cash prizes for select paintings. Chosen works were displayed and available for purchase at Stems: A Garden Soirée, the June fundraiser held at the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens.

The Stems Plein Air Paint experience delights artists and art enthusiasts alike with its captivating display of original artwork. This artistic endeavor offers a unique opportunity for the public to immerse themselves in the beauty of plein air paintings and culminates in a remarkable showcase of their creations, which can be viewed and collected by art enthusiasts.

Visit opkansas.org/Events

  • Farmers’ Market, Wednesdays and Saturdays
  • Seized Moments Exhibit, June 16 – July 30
  • Michael Shaun Brown Concert in the Park, July 13
  • Georgia’s Chicken Run at Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead, July 29
  • Biergarten Thursdays, July 20, Aug. 3 and 31
  • Plein Air Exhibit, Aug. 4 – Oct. 3
  • The Stolen Winnebagos Concert in the Park, Aug. 10
  • Giggle Time Children’s Program, Aug. 2
  • Movie Night at Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead, Aug. 26

The City of Overland Park and the Arts & Recreation Foundation of Overland Park partner to provide our thriving community with cultural enrichment, world-class events, impactful education and inspiring art.

CategoriesArts Consortium
KC Studio

KC Studio covers the performing, visual, cinematic and literary arts, and the artists, organizations and patrons that make Kansas City a vibrant center for arts and culture.

Leave a Reply