For several years, the leaders of the Wichita Art Museum in Kansas have felt that the surrounding grounds were not reflective of the excellent services the museum provides. This year, they’ve decided to step the landscaping up from “adequate” to “excellence.” The museum has announced the launch of an incredible $1 million “Riverview Art Garden” project.
The goal of the project is to redesign the almost three acres of land along West Sim Park Drive and Stackman Drive. The improved landscaping will, it is hoped, better complement the activities taking place at the museum week by week. The museum’s outdoor area is currently used for everything from outdoor concerts to evening dog walking.
The landscaping project is being funded by the museum’s board of trustees chair, Paula Downing, along with her husband, Barry Downing. Board Member Martha Walker and her husband, Keith Walker, have also made substantial donations. They have already hired a design team, with landscaping and urban planning firm Confluence at the helm. The team and museum are hoping that the designs will be cemented in July, and that the project in total will be finished by October 2015.
“We need some spaces for larger gathering areas, as well as smaller areas contained by trees and bushes,” says director Patricia McDonnell. “We really want it to be a compelling wedding of art and nature.” Most in the local area see the announcement as a positive step toward community enrichment, and the museum is opening up the floor to hear local opinions at a May 13 meeting at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church. They want to see what their neighbors would like to see improved regarding the museum’s grounds.
The museum is excited that Confluence ended up being the winning design firm after several submitted potential plans.”It was important to all of us that we look regionally for our designers. We were eager for someone to have real sensitivity to our place and our climate,” says McDonnell. The museum and many homeowners alike are gearing up for a big outdoor landscaping season. Home renovations are on the rise, and better landscaping adds 15% to a home’s value. Without a doubt, the new landscaping project will add visual appeal and value to the museum.