A Contemporary Art Scene Found in Overland Park
Posted: January 20, 2014
Written by: Guest Blogger
Designed by internationally renowned architect Kyu Sung Woo, the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art at Johnson County Community College (JCCC) is one of America’s premier contemporary art museums and the largest in Kansas. The museum presents numerous changing exhibitions annually (featuring internationally, nationally and regionally recognized artists) in its first and second floor galleries. The first floor galleries feature six rotational exhibits per year. The Oppenheimer Collection is featured within the Nerman Museum’s second floor galleries.
In 2004, philanthropists Marti and Tony Oppenheimer began assembling a collection specifically destined for the Nerman Museum, which opened in 2007. Traveling widely with Nerman Museum Director, Bruce Hartman, they amassed over 150 works by emerging and established artists that comprise the core of the museum’s Permanent Collection.
Exhibitions are extraordinarily diverse in content, medium, and style – and may feature monumental artist installations, new media presentations, paintings, sculptures, photography, clay, etc. Through the 16 special exhibitions and its permanent collection the Nerman connects visitors with the most innovative art and ideas of our times. The museum serves as a gathering place to experience contemporary art and culture – and as a forum to inspire and engage all audiences.
Over 500 works of art are currently exhibited across JCCC’s campus in Collection Focus Areas. These installations allow visitors to casually engage with major works of art on a daily basis at no charge. Since its dedication in 2009, the incredibly extensive Contemporary American Indian Art Installation has become the most visited collection site on campus for all docent-guided educational tours.
In addition to displaying spectacular works of art in dynamic spaces, the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art offers many educational programs and experiences. Visitors and students of all ages and backgrounds enjoy various opportunities to explore contemporary art, develop critical thinking skills and visual literacy. Interactive art appreciation tours led by volunteer docents are designed to facilitate appreciation and understanding of contemporary art in our exhibitions and in the permanent collection on view throughout campus. Regular museum programming features visiting artists’ lectures and an international film series. Engaging studio classes for children are offered on Saturdays and during the summer. Printed orientation materials, interpretive labels, and self-guided tours enhance museum experiences for casual visitors of all ages. Through educational programming and resources, the Nerman Museum presents contemporary art for discussion and offers exciting opportunities for creative expression, aesthetic pleasure, intellectual stimulation, and social interaction.
Complementing the Nerman Museum’s and JCCC’s extensive and significant art collection, the City of Overland Park has a strong commitment to establishing and expanding a dynamic arts presence in the community. The Overland Park Public Art Master Plan includes numerous separate arts projects to be installed throughout the city for residents and guests to enjoy. As each phase of the plan is completed, sculpture and art will be displayed throughout the city along major commercial corridors and in city parks.
One signature piece is a 14 foot artifact from the World Trade Center Tower was installed on September 11, 2012 at the Overland Park Fire Training Center. Other works of public art can be discovered at several locations around the City including the Tomahawk Ridge Community Center, Matt Ross Community Center, Overland Park Convention Center and the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens.
In addition to the many public art installations around Overland Park, there are also wonderful art galleries to peruse while your visiting our city. Mainly concentrated in Downtown Overland Park, you’ll find original works of art by local, regional and national artists at Prairiebrooke Gallery, the Bohemian Gallery and Images Art Gallery. Just south is the Rice Gallery of Fine Art in Hawthorne Plaza, also a can’t miss. And coming in 2015, a new multi-use art facility called the InterUrban Art House is slated to open in Downtown Overland Park. This center for the arts will feature individual artist studios, a music academy, a permanent art gallery with curated exhibits and workshops, guest speaks, event space, open studio nights, a sculpture garden and a public art space.