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The Arts & Recreation Foundation of Overland Park: Enhancing Lives Through Art, Recreation and Education

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The place where so many birthdays have been celebrated is observing a milestone of its own this year. Happy 40th to The Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead, the Overland Park, Kansas, family attraction that depicts Kansas farm life in the early 1900s. The Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead is a segment of The Arts & Recreation Foundation of Overland Park.

“Deanna Rose has been wildly successful for decades,” noted Jill Grotzinger, development director of the foundation. “Nearly 28 years ago, the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens were also established by Overland Park. In 1995, the city decided to start the Arts & Recreation Foundation of Overland Park to serve as the non-profit to grow and support the Farmstead, the Arboretum and public art installations and programs for the city.”

The Arts & Recreation Foundation of Overland Park was created to develop and promote the recreational, aesthetic, educational, scientific and cultural potential of the Parks Services and the Recreation Services Departments. It raises money and accepts donations for capital improvements, educational and cultural courses, exhibits and community events for all three programs.

“Right now at the Arboretum & Botanical Gardens, we have a temporary exhibition, Whirlwind: Art in Motion. It’s 12 kinetic sculptures by national artists that move either through solar power or the wind,” shared Jill. “Their movement or the sound they make while moving is mesmerizing. We’ll have the sculptures until September 2019, and we’re already in the process of achieving our next temporary display.”

The Arts & Recreation Foundation of Overland Park and its volunteers and staff are constantly reviewing ways to enhance its programs. A multi-million-dollar campaign, aptly named Growing to Inspire, has collected nearly $10 million in cash and pledges toward its $12.4 million goal. Donations are earmarked to fund improvements at the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens. Overland Park is so enthused by the quality of life enhancements to be delivered to the community by these programs the city council donated $2.375 million to the campaign. City leaders understand the positivity botanical gardens offer as outdoor art museums and more. The Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Garden is no exception.

“The capital campaign will drive the completion of a 22,000-square-foot visitor center, expanded parking for 200 vehicles, outdoor spaces such as entry gardens, reflecting pools, a new pond, event terraces and greens, the first phase of our Sculpture Garden, with amphitheater, connecting pathways and additional gardens,” stated Jill. “The plan improves 38 acres, and we hope to start construction in 2019 or 2020. Enhancing the Arboretum & Botanical Gardens will increase the amenities in our city and will help Overland Park remain one of the best places to live, work and play in the U.S. A lot of research connects arts to a successful community. Citizens want their cities to offer gardens, parks, green spaces and trails.”

Jill points out that when the first phase of the sculpture garden opens, the Kansas City metro will enjoy one of the most outstanding spaces in the country for outdoor sculptures. Eventually, the garden will cover an amazing 250 acres, encompassing the largest sculpture garden in the region. Jill notes that this “spacious natural setting showcases monumental sculpture ‘of the land, not on the land’ to  its fullest.”

Not only is the foundation hard at work on its capital campaign but fundraising also comes from an extensive listing of events organized by its massive group of volunteers. The premier event is Stems: A Garden Soirée, held in June of each year. This year marked the 11th anniversary for Stems, Thousands attended and HERLIFE Magazine repeated as a proud gold sponsor of the affair.

Jill highlights a few other events for the remainder of the year to mark in your calendar. Moonshine on the Farm at Deanna Rose is set for September 8 and allows adults a special evening to enjoy the farm. The Botanical Brewfest, touted as the most beautiful brewfest in the metro with 100 craft beers, 15 restaurants and multiple bands, is set for October 13. On November 16 and 17, the Sheraton of Overland Park will be the site of the Nutcracker Tea Party, held in partnership with Crescendo Conservatory dance studio. A Luminary Walk is scheduled for the first weekend after Thanksgiving and continues for the next three weekends at the Arboretum. Jill recommends visiting The Arts & Recreation Foundation website to learn more and purchase tickets for each of these events.

The volunteers and staff at The Arts & Recreation Foundation of Overland Park are proud of their achievements with the Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead, the Overland Park Arboretum & Botanical Gardens and artwork installations throughout the city. Their efforts not only bring beauty to a bustling metro but quality of life improvements for all to enjoy.

Visit or call 913-322-6467.