The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 4, 2001 · Page 29
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 29

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Friday, May 4, 2001
Page 29
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FRiDAY MAY 4, 2001 r THE SAUNA JOURNAL WHAT'S HOT / D2 BRIEFLY / D3 TOP MUSIC VIDEOS / D4 SALINA ART CENTER Photos courtesy of Salina Art Center Public artist Patricia Johanson enhanced Fair Park Lagoon at the Texas State Fairgrounds with paths, animal habitats and seating in the 1980s. Open to the public New exhibit examines the art of Patricia Johanson, the public art pioneer working to transform South Ninth Street By~AMY SULLIVAN The Salina Journal Patricia Johanson believes the strip mall and chain restaurant-filled portion of South Ninth Street can become an inviting place. A panel of artists and engineers chose the enthusiastic aBtist in February to help design the corridor, a key entryway for Salina visitors, said Karla Prickett, community art and design coordinator for the Salina-Arts and Humanities Commission. The New York artist said that after creating several public art projects in parks, she wanted, to do street work. "Right now, you walk down South Ninth, and the traffic is so dominant," Johanson said. "I believe that can be changed. It could be a pleasant place." Johanson has visited Salina three times, most recently about a month ago. Her first look came in December on a site visit with four other artists vying for the job. "Ninth Street was a commercial strip very similar to commercial strips you'd see anywhere," she said. "Most people crash into the parking lot, go inside to get groceries, then hurry out to pick up the kids." Even before Johanson secured the' $40,000 contract, paid out of the arts commission budget, she immersed herself in Salina, In addition to the requisite meetings with engineers, arts c 0 mm i s s i o n and other city staff, she visited factories and talked with residents to learn what's portant in their lives. "I write down everything people tell me," she said. " The most significant things are tiny details. Ultimately, what makes or breaks a project is the detail." In this getting-to-know-you period, Salinans can learn about Johanson through an Johanson has worthed on public projects in the United States, Korea and Brazil. im- exhibit opening Tuesday at the Salina Art Center, 242 S. Santa Fe. "The exhibit shows an interesting contrast of the beauty and intimacy of the drawings and the large-scale public projects," said Stacy Switzer, exhibition coordinator at the art center. "It also shows her first ideas before plans are made." The display will feature site plans of past projects, photographs, drawings and videos of Johanson and her work. Livening up a lagoon One video, by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibits, showcases Johanson's most famous public art project. Fair Park Lagoon next to the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. The five-block-sized lagoon was the site of two drownings before Johanson was brought in. She added meandering paths around and through the lagoon, animal habitats, islands and seating for visitors. Work on the $2 million project began in 1981 and finished in 1936. "The concept was to bring people into contact with (the lagoon) in a good way" she said. "When people go out onto the paths, they can see turtles, fish, all kinds of birds and water fowl." The exhibit includes site plans of a park in Korea that incorporated a dragon's claw design. The claw is visible from the air but also would be obvious to someone walking in the park. "My first concern is not the visual but the experience," Johanson said. "Rather than standing there and looking at an object, I want people to feel it." Johanson will make her fourth visit to Salina in early June and will talk with people at the Smoky Hill River Festival. See PUBLIC, Page D4 Johanson added these paths and foliage to Fair Park Lagoon in an effort to mal<e the area more inviting. ROCK 'N' ROLL Last National Band working for national exposure Band that started out on a whim gets serious about making it big By DAVID CLOUSTON The Salina Journal Lots of central Kansas music fans are aficionados of the blues- rock sound of Last National Band. The past three years, though, performances by the popular Salina group have been as rare as Bigfoot sightings. But the public is about to discover the band didn't go away; it relocated to the recording studio. The heretofore-renowned cover band hopes to emerge from the shadow of others' hits, represented by the chrysalis on its new CD. Last National Band is testing its wings with 14 original compositions on a new disc titled "Long Time Coniin'." Band members hope the CD is the group's ticket to the record industry sales charts and big-time success. For co-founder and songwriter Vaughn Mignot, the project also is the culmination of a 20-year dream. "Long Time Comin' " is being distributed nationally and will be available in Salina beginning Monday at House of Sight and Sound, 1300 S. Santa Fe, and Carroll's Books-Music & Videos in Mid-State Plaza. The group's first single off the album, "I Wanna Be 'Your Lover Man' " is being released this week to about 240 radio stations across the nation. "This has been a goal of mine since I started," Mignot said. "Only now we had the engineer on board and the tools to do original songs, rather than doing cover tunes as we had been doing for years." Mignot, 54, who founded Last National Band in 1980 with fellow Salina musician Tom Wilbur, worked on a couple of the songs for years. He wrote the remainder mostly during the spring of 1998. Started on a lark The band derived its name from its early members and tlieir spouses, who worked at the former First National Bank of Salina, now Sunflower Bank. Their First gig was entertaining at the company Christmas party "We only had three songs worked up that night. We formed the band for fun," Vaughn said. The band released a CD, "As Is Condition," in 1994. The CD "was to reduce some of the things we had done to CD format for people who had followed us over the years," Wilbur said. About half the songs were cover songs, and the rest was original material. Wilbur, a rhythm guitarist, vocalist and now president of Sali^ na's Security Savings Bank, chose not to have a role in the newest production. He's busy with his career and working with his teenage son's band, White Noise. "Vaughn has specific things he wants to do on songwriting, and I'm busy with banking," Wilbur said. "I think it's the goal of any songwriter to get things published and played. 1 know Vaughn has had a real passion for that. He's continuing to follow his goals." See BAND, Page D3 SUGGESTIONS? CALL ALAN STOLFUS, ENCORE! EDITOR, AT 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT

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