As Rotarians eagerly told stories about their encounters with pieces of art that were special in their eyes, Spencer Museum Director Saralyn Reece Hardy easily confirmed that art delights the public most when it generates dialogue and discussion.
According to Hardy, art should inspire learning, challenge assumptions, and cause reflection. No longer do artists wish to be didactic and “tell” the meaning of what they create. Rather, the shifting goal of art is to leave the walls of traditional museums and meet the public wherever they are.
Memorials in particular stimulate public dialogue. Rotarians shared their personal favorite pieces, sharing the reasons why each was memorable and meaningful: the KU campanile dedicated to those who served during World War II; field art created by Stan Herd; the buffalo by Jim Patti located on Clinton Parkway & Lawrence Avenue; the shuttle cock sculptures and Monet’s water lilies at the Nelson Atkins Museum in Kansas City; the 9/11 Memorial in New York City; and the monument to Winston Churchill in London, England. The group acknowledged that the bike racks that Lawrence Central Rotary commissioned and placed around town are also pieces of public art.