Bear Reading Book

What is a unique piece of wood from behind transforms into a cozy chair on which a bear rests reading a book. Deep gouges into the wood surface imitate the texture of the bear’s fur while a contrasting stain achieves its color. The bear is reclined and appears relaxed as they were in their natural habitat, inciting imagination about leisure time in the wild. A fitting addition to the library’s art collection, this bear is not only engaged with a book but represents the treasures within should one take the time to look.

Cowtown Plaza

CowParade is an ongoing international public art exhibit that has featured the artistry of over 5,000 artists across 80 major world cities. Fiberglass sculptures of cows are decorated by local artists, and distributed around the host city in public places such as train stations, important avenues, and parks. They often feature artwork and designs specific to local culture, as well as city life and other relevant themes. There are three styles of cows provided –standing, grazing, or reclining. Artists are selected to decorate the cows based on design ideas submitted to a committee.


Cubism is a poster highlighting the 2014 exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York entitled Cubism: The Leonard A. Lauder Collection. The exhibition traced the invention and development of Cubism using iconic examples from the Leonard A. Lauder collection. Cubism was the most influential art movement of the 20th century: it radically destroyed traditional illusionism in painting, revolutionized the way we see the world (per Juan Gris), and paved the way for the pure abstraction that dominated Western art for the next fifty years.

Don't Drop Me

This sculpture titled Don’t Drop Me by Dominic Benhura depicts a group of three children engaged in lively interaction. In designing this playful paragon of joy, Benhura combined steel, wire, and stone to compose a work of art that practically sings out loud.

Benhura simultaneously captured balance and movement both physically and emotionally through this work. Two children face each other and stand on one leg with the other leg outstretched behind. They both reach up to balance a third playmate between them.

Good as Gold

Viewers of Good as Gold by Donald Lipski might consider the abstrusity of books drilled with holes placed on an eight foot tall round steel form. Upon further observation however, the commanding work might be interpreted as a literal representation of the portal through which readers travel to alternate worlds via books. Most of the books included in the work were sourced from a Bridgehampton, New York Book Barn, but Lipski incorporated withdrawn items from The Kansas City Public Library’s collection as well. Each book was selected based on size, color, and subject matter.

Hand Blown Sculpture in Blue

This hand-blown, diamond-shaped glass sculpture arrests attention with its royal blue hues and sharp metallic border. The pane sits in a V-shaped stand whose sharp angles serve to contain, yet enhance the fluid lines in the glass pane, compounding into a visually striking piece. Varying opacity in the glass manipulates light in such a way that the glass appears to be in motion, in the process of revealing something on the other side.

Horse & Carriage

This particular miniature black rococo-style horse drawn coach driven by a coachman, was utilized by the Kansas City Repertory Theatre as a stage prop. The coach is black with ornate gold embellishments, fixed head, doors, and windows. The exterior is replete with four brass carriage lanterns and a gold leaf undercarriage. The coachman is wearing simple grey livery with white socks and black shoes. He commands the coach comfortably from a tufted gold cushion.

Idaho Sunrise

Born in California, Bill Howe lived most of his life in Ottawa, KS, where he conducted a lifelong study of Lepidoptera (butterflies and moths) and translated his studies into paintings. He graduated from Oklahoma University and later studied at the Kansas City Art Institute to develop his command of the watercolor medium used for most of his field studies.

Miniature Library

Barbara Mulvihill, an information services librarian at Salina Public Library, designed and created Miniature Library, a diorama of a contemporary library building.


This watercolor illustration painted in 2003 is from Naked, a children's book written by comedian Michael Ian Black and illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi. The story is about the hilarity that ensues when a young boy refuses to wear clothes.

Plaza Map

This print is a nearly exact reproduction of a map of Kansas City's Country Club district produced in 1930 by Oklahoma native Earl Wilson Allen. It was printed on canvas by Dolphin Archival Printing using ink jet technology in 2017. Allen served as an architect with the J.C. Nichols Company. Allen utilized tempered paint on paper subsequently mounted on masonite. With the closing of J.C. Nichols headquarters in 2012, this reproduction of Allen's pictograph was donated by Highwood Properties to the State Historical Society of Missouri.

Plaza Skyline and Main Street Bridge

Taken from the vantage point, this photograph captures the budding country club plaza district of Kansas City, Missouri. Prominent developer J.C. Nichols designed the plaza with an architectural aesthetic inspired by Seville, Spain, which he visited in the early twenties before opening the plaza in 1923. He built a half-scale replica of Seville’s Giralda tower as a cornerstone of the district, centrally located in the skyline of this photograph.

Portrait of Harry S. Truman

One of the seminal leaders of the 20th century was Missouri born and raised. Harry S.Truman grew up in Independence, Missouri, and during World War I fought in France as a captain in the Field Artillery. Returning home, he opened a haberdashery in Kansas City, Missouri and was later elected as a Jackson County official in 1922. Truman was elected to the United States Senate from Missouri in 1934 and gained national distinction as chairman of the Truman Committee aimed at reducing waste and inefficiency in wartime contracts.

School Desk

This 1930s school desk was the heart and hearth of early American childhood education. The finished wooden chair is supported by a wrought cast iron base that doubles as support for the built-in posterior desk. The desktop was designed with a space for both a writing utensil and an inkwell, with a shelf underneath for additional materials. This style of desk worked in unison with others so that, when lined up, created rows of desk and chair pairings throughout a classroom. With a hinged seat the unit could be condensed and stored when not in use.

Separate but Not Equal

In the pivotal case of Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that racially separate facilities, if equal, did not violate the Constitution. Segregation, the Court said, was not discrimination. It wasn’t until May 17, 1954, that the Supreme Court of the United States unanimously ruled that segregation in public schools was unconstitutional. The Court ruled that “separate is not equal,” and that segregation violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.

Wizard of Oz Jar

In designing Wizard of Oz Jar in earthenware clay, Starr combined traditional creative methods with whimsical popular culture. The large jar features the four main principal characters from the much loved L. Frank Baum book and film that chronicles the adventures of a young farm girl named Dorothy Gale in the magical Land of Oz after she and her pet dog Toto are swept away from their home in Kansas by a cyclone. In this work, Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man, and the Cowardly Lion join the Wicked Witch on the legendary Yellow Brick Road.