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johnson county recreation
While people in Johnson County work hard, they like their downtime as well, and we offer many wonderful places for individuals and families to learn, play, relax, be active, and enjoy the outdoors. Johnson County’s dozens of parks, recreation facilities, lakes, and public gardens offer something for everyone. Checkout one of Johnson County’s 13 libraries, spend an afternoon at the Johnson County Museum, or when the weather is warm enjoy a movie or Broadway show at Theatre in The Park. Our recreational amenities play a huge role in Johnson County being a community of choice.

Recreation News

New Horizons offers new season of band rehearsals beginning Jan. 21

Calling all music lovers! Dig out your old instrument or rent a new one and join a group of fun-loving musicians age 50 and beyond in the New Horizons Band. The group will begin band rehearsals starting  Jan. 21 at the Roeland Park Community Center, 4850 Rosewood Dr., Roeland Park.

A program of the 50 Plus Department of the Johnson County Park and Recreation District in conjunction with the University of Missouri - Kansas City’s Conservatory of Music and Dance and Meyer Music, the New Horizons Band offers an opportunity to make music in a relaxed, learning atmosphere. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t played in years! The band is currently open to anyone with an instrument and some musical background. The band includes brass, woodwind, and percussion, and offers an opportunity to play in small groups and band practice. UMKC music majors assist the band director.

To find this program in the My JCPRD Activities catalog and online listings, browse first under 50 Plus and then under fine and performing arts. In the printed catalog and when using the website’s advanced search,  look for the keywords “performing group music.” 

Rehearsals for the New Horizons Band take place at 6 p.m. Tuesday beginning Jan. 21. The cost for 16 two-hour sessions is $83 per person for Johnson County residents or $91 per person for nonresidents. For more information about this program, call (913) 826-3160. Register for this program by phone by calling (913) 831-3359, or register online at www.jcprd.com, by clicking  on “Register for Activities,” and complete a course ID search for 27644.

While JCPRD’s 50 Plus programs are primarily for people who are age 50 or older, interested parties who have not yet reached that magic age may still be able to attend. Persons 18 and older who are interested in a 50 Plus class are invited to call the 50 Plus Department at (913) 826-3030 for space availability.

Printed copies of the My JCPRD Activities catalog are available for pickup at all Johnson County Library branches.

Christmas tree recycling begins Dec. 26 in four Johnson County Park and Recreation District parks

Post-holiday contributions of discarded natural Christmas trees will be accepted at four Johnson County Park and Recreation District park locations from Dec. 26 through Jan. 31. 

The tree collection sites are: the Sunflower access point of Big Bull Creek Park at 20245 Sunflower Road in Edgerton; the Theatre in the Park parking lot in Shawnee Mission Park with an entrance at 7710 Renner Road, Shawnee (separate from the park’s main entrance); the Heritage Park Marina parking lot, 16050 Pflumm Road, Olathe; and the north side of the parking lot at the marina at Kill Creek Park, 11670 Homestead Lane, Olathe. 

Trees will be collected during regular winter park hours, which are 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., except at Shawnee Mission Park, which opens at 6 a.m. 

In 2018, between 4,000 and 5,000 trees were "recycled." Some of the trees are mulched for use on trails and in landscaping while others are used to improve fish habitat in district lakes.

No yard waste will be accepted - only Christmas trees. Wrappers should be removed from the discarded trees as well as any remaining decorations; particularly "icicles" and decorations made from mylar, shiny plastic, or aluminum.

There is no charge for the disposal of trees, and these tree disposal sites are open to anyone regardless of residency. For additional information, call Visitor Services at the JCPRD Administration Building in Shawnee Mission Park at (913) 888-4713.

Savages and Princesses - The Persistence of Native American Stereotypes exhibit begins Nov. 20

Giving viewers an opportunity to see artwork by nationally-recognized indigenous artists and starting some conversations around the topic of Native American stereotyping are goals for a second temporary exhibit opening at the Johnson County Museum during November.

Savages and Princesses - The Persistence of Native American Stereotypes, is the name of this exhibit, which opens Nov. 20. First curated by America Meredith, a Native American artist in Oklahoma, this exhibit consists of more than thirty contemporary artworks by 13 nationally-recognized Native American artists, and includes small art objects, framed pieces, and a giant installation.

“The pieces deal with the theme of stereotyping Native Americans and the wide diversity of Native American cultures,” said Museum Curator of Interpretation Andrew Gustafson. “Themes like the ‘savage warrior’ or the ‘drunken Indian’ are everywhere in popular culture, from books to movies to sports team mascots. This exhibit really takes a look at the stereotypes, and through the use of emotion - humor, anger, sadness - helps visitors to reflect on those stereotypes. It is a great opportunity to learn about another point of view, to learn about ourselves, and a chance to make ourselves more aware of other cultures in our own community.”

Gustafson said he believes an art exhibit is a great way to tackle a tough topic like pop culture stereotyping. 

“Art by its very nature creates dialogue - people want to talk about what they are seeing and experiencing in front of them,” he said. “Art also has the power to make us feel what the artist is trying to convey, and does not have to work around the inherent meaning that might be associated with a historical object. I think this exhibit will really pull some emotion of out visitors.”

This exhibit is made possible by Mid-America Arts Alliance and Exhibits USA, as well as through funding from Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission (KCAIC) and the National Endowment for the Arts. The November start of the exhibit ties into National Native American Heritage Month, and Savages and Princesses: The Persistence of Native American Stereotypes will be on display in the museum’s exhibit room through March 14.

Several tie-in programs to this exhibit are being planned, including a panel discussion called Distorted Images: Indians in Popular Culture set for Feb. 17.  This panel will be moderated by the original exhibit’s curator, America Meredith, and will feature local and national Native American artists, curators, and activists. The panel will tackle the tough themes of the exhibit, as well as contemporary realities for Native Americans in the United States, and promises to be a thought-provoking event. Other programs relating to this exhibit include a Lunch & Learn on Nov. 22 called Disruption Then Disease (22947), and another Lunch & Learn on Jan. 23 called Resettlement and Reeducation of Indians in Kansas. Registration for this program begins Nov. 18 with the release of the January through April issue of the My JCPRD Activities catalog.

The museum’s other current temporary exhibit, which opened on Nov. 12, is called Dreaming of a Retro Xmas. It celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Evergleam, the first commercially-successful aluminum Christmas tree. This exhibit features the collection of Johnson County residents Steve and Mary Pruitt, which includes aluminum Christmas trees and other vintage Christmas decorations from the 1950s and 60s, as well as some of the museum’s own collection of Johnson County-based Christmas décor. Dreaming of a Retro Xmas will remain on display in and around All Electric House inside the museum through Jan. 11.

Both temporary exhibits will take place at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center, 8788 Metcalf Ave., Overland Park. Exhibit admission is included with regular museum admission rates of $5 for adults, $4 for seniors, and $3 for children, until Jan. 1, when museum admission increases to $6 for adults, $5 for seniors, and $4 for children. The museum is open 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and is closed on Sunday. 

Test your JoCo knowledge at Old Settlers

How much do you know about Johnson County? Come test your trivia skills with our Spin-to-Win wheel at Johnson County Old Settlers in downtown Olathe! We will have a booth at this event today, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day. In addition to learning about the county, you’ll find experts on the upcoming 2020 Census who can answer your questions about what to expect next year, why participation is so important and how you can become a census worker.

Our booth is located just to the north of the Johnson County Administration Building (111 S. Cherry St., Olathe). Other county entities represented at this event include the Johnson County Election Office, Johnson County Sheriff’s Office and Emergency Management and Communications department. For more information on this event, please visit the Old Settlers website.

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