July 8, 2016
KANSAS CITY, Missouri – It’s never too late to go back home again.
Such is the case of the art panels once displayed on a dangerous building on Independence Avenue, which for a time seemed lost for good. But those panels were recently found, and they’re now safe – if not completely sound – back in the Historic Northeast.
Despite assurances to the contrary, artistic window dressings that once adorned the vacant property at 3512 Independence Avenue were taken down and sold to an unnamed buyer for $600 after the property was demolished this spring. The artwork, completed by local artists, was originally part of a fall 2011 urban art initiative designed to brighten up a blighted building along the avenue.
“We just want to do something good for our community,” Executive Director of Northeast Arts KC Rebecca Koop told the Northeast News at the time. “There’s plenty of buildings that are boarded up. Ultimately, we’d like to see the buildings repurchased and somebody back in there, but in the meantime, we have something a little better and more interesting to look at.”
Thanks to the dedication of Koop, those lost boards were tracked to a wrecking yard in the Lake Quivira area last week. Koop made arrangements to pick up the boards this week, and now has the pieces stored in her studio. While the art is back home, Koop said that the pieces did sustain some damage over the course of the past several months.
“When they were removed, they got soaked in that June rain,” said Koop. “They were all just stacked up flat, so they were just sitting in their own juicy water.”
To combat the wear and tear, Koop is planning to contact as many of the original artists as possible to participate in a makeover party for the public artwork.
“I’ll try to call the original artists that did that and see if they want to come over for a panel painting party,” said Koop. “Maybe we can clean them up, paint them up, and get them in shape again. I think they can be repurposed.”
While she hasn’t yet set a date, Koop is hoping that the artwork can be refurbished before the end of the summer. She further hopes that the pieces can once again be displayed by this fall.
“There are some ideas being thrown around,” Koop said. “We don’t have permission yet, so these are just ideas.”