Leawood has formally dedicated a prominent piece of public art by one of the city’s own residents.
The Art in Public Place Initiative of the Leawood Arts Council announced the dedication of the sculpture, “Inspiration,” by Rita Blitt last week.
The 26-foot tall piece is an abstract dancing figure of undulating gold lines that is installed at the southeast corner of Tomahawk Creek Parkway and College Boulevard.
Blitt’s creations are often translations from single line drawings that celebrate nature, nature forms, music and dance.
“Inspiration” is a stainless steel sculpture that weighs approximately 4,000 pounds, making it Blitt’s largest piece.
This version of the sculpture was painted yellow in honor of the artist’s favorite color.
“The sculpture has brought me much joy, and to think that you all are enjoying it too makes me extremely happy,” Blitt said at the dedication ceremony earlier this month.
The sculpture was formerly installed at Bannister Road and Hillcrest in Kansas City, Mo., in front of what was originally Hillcrest Bank before it was moved to Leawood.
There have been other renditions of the piece since it was first created by Blitt back in 1986. Originally made out of wood, several versions of “Inspiration” have made it to places as far away as Taiwan and Norway.
The artwork is the 24th three-dimensional work in Leawood’s outdoor Public Art Collection. The piece was offered as a gift to the city by residents William and Mary Walker.
“Our public art makes us a very special place to live, but I really think it’s something that sets us apart from many communities in our region,” Leawood Mayor Peggy Dunn said.
Blitt is a long-time Leawood resident herself.
The 90-year-old artist studied at the University of Illinois, the University of Missouri —Kansas City and the Kansas City Art Institute. She was also awarded the Honorary Doctoral degree in Fine Arts by Washburn University in 2019.
Blitt’s work can be seen in many museums and private collections, including the the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, John F. Kennedy Library and the National Museum of Singapore.