International sculpture garden to remain at Arboretum

June 5, 2012

Overland Park, KS - Overland Park Mayor Carl Gerlach met with Stilwell resident Joanne Hughes; Phillip Cosby, state director of the American Family Association; and George Hsu, minister with Emmanuel Chinese Baptist Church, early this evening about a piece of art at the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens.

The Mayor was advised by Cosby that he intends to seek a Johnson County grand jury to investigate the art piece "Accept or Reject," also known as "The Choice," at the Arboretum, 8909 W. 179th Street.

The art piece, one of 11 sculptures donated to Overland Park by Chinese artists, is part of the newly established International Sculpture Garden.
Currently, the city has no immediate plans to remove or relocate the sculpture.

Two signs have been posted on walkways leading to the sculpture garden, which read;

"Sculptures, donated by Chinese artists, are on display in the International Sculpture Garden. These sculptures depict cultural and personal moments, and societal issues that are the creative expression of the individual artists. Some pieces include a display of the human body and parental guidance is encouraged."

Posting of signs in the sculpture garden was done in response to Hughes' initial request.

As with many city art installations, city leaders have received emails and phone calls from individuals who support and oppose the art piece on display.

Because art is subjective, it is not uncommon for installations to provoke strong reactions.

Art is a protected form of free speech. Only the courts may decide if a piece of art is not in accordance with the protections afforded by the constitution.

Citizens have the right to seek redress through the courts.

The 300-acre Arboretum is a collection of flower and water gardens, as well as the new sculpture garden, which was dedicated in November 2011.

Future plans for the International Sculpture Garden call for nearly 100 pieces of art donated from around the world.



More than 138,000 people came to the Overland Park Arboretum and Botanical Gardens in 2011.


Sean Reilly 913-895-6109