Karen Slack Memorial
In the 1970s, the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department and the Sculpture Department at the Kansas City Art Institute made an agreement to display chosen student sculptures on Kansas City’s boulevards and parkways. This helped fulfill the wish of KC Parks and Rec to add art and interest to the boulevards at very little cost. It also gave students an opportunity to have their creations on temporary display. The ownership stayed with the student and Kansas City Parks and Recreation retained the right to remove or replace the sculpture at any time.
One of these students was Karen Slack, from Manhattan, Kansas. Her creation was this 16-foot-tall steel sculpture which she envisioned as a type of gate along the lines of a Japanese gate, called a torii. Tragically, before her sculpture could be place, she was killed by a hit-and-run driver while walking in Manhattan in August 1979. Ms. Slack’s parents gave the sculpture to the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department. It was placed in Wilbur Dunn Park, near the intersection of The Paseo and E 67th Street, which was one of the possible locations that Ms. Slack had proposed for the sculpture’s placement. The sculpture was dedicated on August 20, 1981.