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K-State Today

March 26, 2018

APDesign graduate students host design dialog exhibition

Submitted by Thom Jackson

park sculpture

Three graduate students will host a design dialog exhibition sponsored by Downtown Wichita: Skylar Brown, Eureka; Andrea Lemken, Blue Springs, Missouri; and Wei Sun, China, with faculty advisor and associate professor Katie Kingery-Page from the landscape architecture and regional & community planning department in K-State's College of Architecture, Planning & Design. The students will exhibit their ideas in an immersive installation through March 30 at Fisch Haus in Wichita. 

Chester I. Lewis Reflection Park in Wichita is a downtown pocket park commemorating the life of a prominent lawyer of the Young Turks era of the NAACP. Part of Lewis' legacy, the Dockum Drugstore Sit-In of 1958, was the first successful sit-in of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. Although the park opened in 2000, it was not designated to commemorate Chester Lewis until 2007. At that time, the city installed a sculpture representing a lunch counter. The park's location is within blocks of the actual Dockum Drugstore Sit-In site, now the Ambassador Hotel. In its current condition, Lewis Park is underutilized. This hypothetical, student project aims to start a dialogue on the future of the park. The student design team advocates for strengthening the park's commemorative significance and providing inclusive green space in the downtown. The student designers address the future potential of Lewis Park through three lenses: cultural inclusiveness, theories of nature and psychological restoration, and linking strands of civil rights history through city streetscapes. Findings from community input result in a series of proposals — work in progress intended to promote community dialogue for the future of the park.

"At K-State APDesign, we prioritize service learning," Kingery-Page said. "Engaging stakeholders in Wichita on this project gives our students a chance to learn what Wichitans value about their incredibly rich civil rights history … And lets our students experience the very start of a design dialogue about a significant public space."

"The students have been digesting these landmark cultural connections in Kansas and starting to understand the larger context of the national civil rights movement," said associate professor La Barbara James Wigfall. "Their approach to this interactive installation is evocative and contemplative for community stakeholders or the casual observer."

The gallery will be open for Final Friday from 7-10 p.m. March 30; otherwise, by appointment. Call 200-5200 or email info@fischhaus.com to set up a time.

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