The first phase of an interactive sculpture art park is about to get started in west Wichita. The park will be located in a 20-acre meadow inside Sedgwick County Park near the 13th Street entrance.
The Sedgwick County Art Park will have five massive sculptures made from natural materials and surrounded by wildflowers and trees.
Artist Terry Corbett says visitors will be able to walk through some of the designs, including a sea turtle maze made of Kansas limestone and flagstone.
"You’re going to see this big turtle, I mean this thing is big, 40 yards long or more and 30 yards wide," Corbet says. "The back has a maze that people can walk on."
The turtle maze will be the first sculpture to be built. Corbett expects it to be done by the end of the year.
"We’re hoping the use of it, with people out there and we can bring patrons out there to see where we are at with this, we think this is going to help with the fundraising actually," Corbett says.
Pathways will link the sculptures to the existing paths in Sedgwick County Park. Corbett says they also plan to add an elevated observation deck.
Corbett is leading a team of Kansas-based artists who have experience with public art to create the designs. Others involved in the project include Tobin Rupe, Conrad Snider, Gino Salerno, Larry Goodwin and Richie Bergen.
The other sculptures planned for the art park are three 30-foot-tall totem poles, a 125-by-20-by-25-foot-high fossil fish, and a 100-by-8-foot-high wall showing the migration of buffalo and a group of 16-foot-tall stone sculptures in the style of Inuet inukshuk.
"The one thing I’ve been learning is that you mix nature and art, and you cannot go wrong," Corbett says.
Sedgwick County Commissioners approved contracts for the art park at their meeting Wednesday. Sedgwick County is donating the land for the art park, and the Arts Council is serving as fiscal agent.
Corbett says planning and designing the art park began more than four years ago. The idea was to create an environmental art park that uses nature as its medium.
Corbett says the artwork and installation will cost about $300,000 and will be funded through private donations.
Once the installations are complete, Sedgwick County will maintain the art park.
Follow Deborah Shaar on Twitter @deborahshaar.
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