Art installation, Theater in the Park to draw crowds to JoCo


Roots and seeds are presented in “Symbiosis” by Matthew Dehaemers, a temporary art installation on view this summer at the entrance to the “Theatre in the Park”, 7710 Renner Road in Shawnee. It can be enjoyed during the day and after dark.

Johnson County Park and Recreation District

Shawnee artist Matthew Dehaemers has been chosen to create a temporary art installation at Shawnee Mission Park, which will be on display this summer.

The public can view “Symbiosis,” which will be fully installed by June 3, at the entrance to the Theater in the Park, 7710 Renner Road in Shawnee. It will be exhibited at least at the beginning of August.

The piece speaks not only of the symbiotic relationship between humanity and the natural environment, but also of the connections necessary to produce a stage performance at the park.

“A successful production requires everyone to work together to bring a musical production to life,” Dehaemers said in a press release. “The roots and the soil are those many people, from the actors, directors, props, lights and sound crews to those who sell the tickets and work in the concessions.

“With the evolution of a new Theater in the Park complex, the seed represents that evolution from small beginnings in Antioch Park through today and into the future.”

Incorporated into the artwork is a tree that was removed from the park due to physical injuries and a carpenter ant infestation.

“This tree was a perfect candidate to be repurposed for public art,” Park District Culture Superintendent Susan Mong said via email. “The unusual shape beautifully illustrates the complexity of the root structures of our grassland soil ecosystem here in this park.”

Dehaemers was one of many artists chosen to improve Johnson County parks. He and others will be part of a VIP event during the Meadowbrook Park Festival from 3-9 p.m. June 3 at Meadowbrook Park, 9101 Nall Ave. The free festival features lawn games, live music and Strawberry Swing creators and artists.

The VIP experience is $125, with proceeds going to the county park system’s public arts fund. Attendees can also meet Amie Jacobsen, whose sunflower sculpture was chosen for Meadowbrook Park. For more details and tickets, go to

Theater in the Park begins its outdoor season

Theater in the Park will kick off its 53rd outdoor season with the musical “Something Rotten,” which opens June 3 and runs through June 11.

The story is set in the 1590s when brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom, eclipsed by a playwright known as The Bard, set out to write the world’s first musical after a soothsayer told them that the he future of theater involves singing, dancing and acting all at the same time. .

For the first time, Theater in the Park presents an outdoor season with new productions for the company.

“It’s so exciting for us to do five shows this summer that we’ve never done before,” Tim Bair, artistic director of production, said in a press release.

Curtain time for all outdoor productions is 8:30 p.m., with the seating bowl opening one hour earlier. The ticket office opens at 7 p.m. Go to for dates and tickets.

Later outdoor musicals are “Disney’s Descendants,” June 17-25; “School of Rock”, from July 1 to 9; “Zombie Prom,” July 15-23, and “The SpongeBob Musical,” July 29-August 29. 6.

Garden dedicated to the slain social worker

In August 2004, Johnson County social worker Teri Zenner lost her life when a client stabbed her in the neck on her way to his home.

On May 20, the Johnson County Mental Health Center rededicated a garden in Zenner’s honor. The garden, at The Recovery Place in Shawnee, was first dedicated to Zenner in 2006, but its recent renovation has prompted rededication.

“Today, as part of Mental Health Awareness Month, we celebrate the life and legacy of Teri Mathis Zenner,” Johnson County Mental Health Center Director Tim DeWeese said on Facebook and Twitter. “I was fortunate to work with Teri and see her passion for helping others.”

The Recovery Place, 11120 W. 65th St., is a residential facility that houses the Mental Health Center’s Adult Detox Unit, Teen Treatment Center, and Crisis Recovery Center.

Mental Health Center spokesperson Nathan Carter said by email that the garden has now been planted for color in every season. “So there will be something in bloom all year round.”

Zenner’s death, at age 26, led to increased safety training for Kansas social workers and other strategies to improve safety.

De Soto postal voting begins

De Soto voters are being asked to renew a three-quarters of a cent sales tax for infrastructure such as roads, sewers, sidewalks and street lights. Residents should receive their ballots in the mail shortly after mailing begins on June 1.

De Soto has collected the tax for 20 years and voters will decide whether to renew it for another 10 years starting October 1. The current fee expires in July.

Drop boxes will be available at the Johnson County Election Office, 2101 E. Kansas City Road in Olathe, and the De Soto Library, 33145 W. 83rd St.

Closure of Leawood Road

Leawood has closed the northernmost section of Lee Boulevard until the end of October so construction crews can widen the street, add bike lanes and perform public works.

The affected area is between 83rd Street and Somerset Drive. Only local traffic will be allowed and there is no access to Lee Boulevard from 81st Street.

Similar work was done south of 83rd Street.

Shawnee banners will honor military service

Again this year, Shawnee will honor local veterans and current service members with banners hung from downtown streetlights from August through November.

A maximum of 70 banners are sold for $100 each as part of the expanded Hometown Hero project. The person honored must be a veteran or active service member who lives in Shawnee, works in Shawnee, or is a former resident.

Banner sales will continue until July 1 or earlier if all 70 banners are sold. Buy them at 913-631-5200 or visit the Shawnee Civic Center at 13817 Johnson Drive.

New signs mark the trails of the pioneers

Prairie Village has installed signs marking the three-mile route of the Santa Fe, Oregon and California trails through the city.

The signs also tell people on the city’s website, where they can learn more about the trails and local history.

It took four years of work by community volunteers, led by Corinth Hills resident Mark Morgan, to get the job done.

“For years, myself and others in Corinth Hills have known that the historic Santa Fe/Oregon/California border route passed through Harmon Park where the old ‘swale’ wagon train can still be seen today. “, Morgan said in a press release from the city.

“This same trail route also passed through our Corinth Hills neighborhood, but we just didn’t know where.”

Initially, the volunteers wanted to know where the Westport Route South branch of the trail network passed through their neighborhood, but the effort later spread to the entire city. The city financed the purchase of beacons which were installed this spring.

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