Johnson County’s Public Art Program commits funding for the creation and installation of public art in Johnson County Government’s major capital building projects. The program contributes works of art commissioned by the county and installed for the benefit and illumination of residents, with the vision of public art cultivating a sense of community and contributing to the county being a desirable place to live, work, be educated, and grow a business.
The county’s next public art installation is set to begin on July 15 at the new Johnson County Courthouse. Artist Benjamin Ball with Ball-Nogues Studio in Los Angeles was chosen among 130 submissions to create and install public art in the entryway of the new courthouse, scheduled to open to the public in early January 2021.
“While the county and artists have partnered on several public art installations in Johnson County Government buildings, this project is unique,” said Dan Wehmueller, project manager for the new courthouse. “This is the first time the installation of public art has happened this early in the construction process and has been so integrated into the design of a portion of the building in such a collaborative way.”
Entitled Open Prairie, Ball’s creation of 5,400 segments of stainless-steel ball-chains, enamel paint and an aluminum plate will create a network of vibrant colors as people enter the new courthouse.
Johnson County’s Public Art Commission is an advisory commission to the Board of County Commissioners and is responsible for administering the Public Art Program, including the artist selection process and making a final recommendation on a selected artist to the BOCC.
“There really will not be anything like this anywhere else in Johnson County,” said Christopher Leitch, PAC member for the first district. “This art will be visually engaging, and the installation will require a mix of creativity, engineering and technology.”
The public is invited to watch Johnson County Government’s social media channels between July 15 and 30 to see the progress on the installation. It will be celebrated with the rest of the building at a public dedication later this year. In the meantime, please view this photo essay providing more detail on the project, its inspiration, and progress photos from the past several months.