Former Leawood resident, Dennis Reynolds, designed this environmental landscape art piece. Reynolds is an award winning landscape architect/urban designer/artist with nearly 30 years of experience including “The Art of Wetland Observation” funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, “Art in the Landscape” for the Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, Ohio and “Colorways” a large translucent architectural installation in Des Moines, Iowa.
“Porch Lights” is constructed of saw-cut cottonwood falls Kansas limestone and backlit molten colored glass. A copper roof on the stone structure will age with a green patina. “Porch Lights” is unique to the City of Leawood in both style and concept. In addition to the central stone artwork, landscaping enhancements with year-round features provide a warm welcome to the City. This landscape artwork sits within the traffic island at the intersection of Somerset and Lee Boulevard on land shared by the cities of Prairie Village and Leawood. It was designed with consideration and approval of both cities, through an inter-local agreement with equal vantages from both cities.
APPI commissioned this work of art to be a “coming home” to north Leawood. The piece sits as a gateway to the Historic District of Leawood. “Porch Lights” was designed to be reminiscent of the stone homes in north Leawood. This district was the original development of Leawood, which began around the end of World War II, giving the theme of “coming home” further meaning.
The piece accentuates the serene quality of early life in the suburbs. This environmental work of art relates to the adjacent neighborhood. The glowing colored glass scattered throughout the triangular stone structure represents the porch lights of the houses. During WWII it was an American tradition to keep the porch lights on for “our boys” overseas. Many felt that leaving the porch lights on would help soldiers find their way home. Some towns turned lights on following the war, during specific evening hours, to honor and celebrate veterans.
The V shape of the design is reminiscent of the “V” for victory that was made famous during WWII by Winston Churchill. The two fingered, palm-out symbol was used during the war as the hope for victory and after as a sign of celebration. During the Vietnam war this symbol of victory became know as a peace symbol.