Prairie Lessons

Internationally acclaimed figurative sculptor, Dennis Smith creates art that celebrates life and has a lasting presence. He is most widely known for his bronze sculptures of children. Smith focuses on the memories that help us celebrate the simple yet important moments in life. Children’s lives, as they explore the world around them, parallel our lives as adults, as we discover our identities in the universe. His impressionistic style captures his exuberance for life and embodies his passion for transcendence-expressed through the spontaneity of children, reflections of the past, present, and hopes for the future.

Dennis Smith is now in the fourth decade of his career. He was raised in Alpine, Utah and graduated from Brigham Young University and the Royal Academy of Art in Copenhagen. His work can be seen in 26 states and 8 countries.

This work of art represents a unique collaboration driven by the Leawood Foundation, in cooperation with the Leawood Historic Commission and the Art in Public Places Initiative of the Leawood Arts Council. Representatives from each group selected Smith and commissioned the design of the piece to represent the nurturing role teachers play in children’s lives. This sculpture was funded by private donations to honor the importance of teachers throughout history in our area. The life-sized bronze is a tribute to the contributions of the one-room school teachers, through present-day educators, to Kansas society.  It is a welcomed companion to the Historic Oxford Schoolhouse in Ironwoods Park.

Smith happily accepted this commission based on personal childhood experiences while attending a school much like the Oxford School.