A newly selected art sculpture is set to debut at the Leawood Justice Center in less than a year.
The art installation, titled, “Weight of your Heart, Weight of a Feather,” entails a large fulcrum standing between two large screens, reminiscent of the scales of justice. It is set to be placed in front of the justice building, located near 119th Street and Tomahawk Parkway.
An ancient Egyptian concept of “justice” and the feathery texture of chestnut leaves are the prominent inspirations for the piece, which will also be lit up at night.
The artwork will be made out of weathering steel and it will require minimal maintenance.
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At its meeting Monday evening, the city council voiced their approval for the sculpture and unanimously voted to allow staff to initiate the planning process with RDG Artist Studios, the Des Moines based-company that made the proposal.
The selection comes after a nearly year-long process.
In February, Mayor Peggy Dunn appointed the Justice Center Art Selection Committee to find an appropriate sculpture.
Since then, the committee researched several artists for the project and sought guidance from James Martin, a local professional artists consultant and art historian.
In the end, it was the proposal from RDG Artist Studios that swept the committee off its feet.
“We liked the walkability aspect, that pedestrians would easily be able to look at the pieces,” said Councilman Jim Rawlings, a committee member.
He also added that several members of the committee were intrigued by the artwork’s symbolism and historical aspects.
In a statement to the city, artists David B. Dahlquist and Matt Niebuhr said they were inspired by the historical origins of justice, dating back to the time of mummies and ancient pyramids around 3,500 years ago.
They were particularly drawn to a specific image in the British Museum in London that depicts an ancient fulcrum, representing an idea of balance and judgment.
“It symbolizes a comparison in weight between an ‘ideal’ and the ‘real,’ and in so doing, a measurement of truth, virtue, justice, and equality,” the statement read. “If the weight of the heart — your soul — is lighter than or equal to the feather of truth then the individual being judged was deemed to be ‘truthful and ‘just’ in this sense, a measure of being morally just.”
Several council members found the renderings of the artwork impressive and beautiful.
Councilwoman Debra Filla, who sat on the committee, said she was pleased by the selection because it was important to have a sculpture that could be enjoyed by people driving by the Justice Center and also easily viewable at night.
The budget for the art piece is $225,000 and $75,000 for site preparations and contingencies. The cost will be paid from budgeted public safety funds.
Once a contract with RDG Artist Studios is approved by the council, construction on the sculpture will begin. The completion date is anticipated to be late fall of 2016.
Jennifer Bhargava: firstname.lastname@example.org