New sculpture to honor longtime local family

4/18/2013

By SCOTT AUST

By SCOTT AUST

saust@gctelegram.com

A new life-size bronze sculpture coming soon to downtown Garden City pays homage to a longtime family.

Dan and Dick Fankhauser are donating the sculpture in honor of their parents, Roy and Helen Fankhauser, who moved to Garden City in 1948 and opened Fankhauser Drug Store, a Walgreens franchise, on Grant Avenue where Legends Salon is currently located.

Dan Fankhauser said he and his brother wanted to do something special for their mother's 100th birthday. Helen Fankhauser turned 100 years old on April 9.

"We'd been thinking a little bit about it, and we wanted to do something for my dad, who's passed away, and my mother," he said.

Fankhauser said the drug store went in where the old Safeway was before it moved to a new location on Kansas Avenue. After Safeway left, Fankhauser's dad remodeled the storefront into the drug store.

"So we kind of wanted to have something in that area," he said of the sculpture's future location.

At the request of Friends of Garden City Arts, the city commission this week agreed to install the sculpture at the northwest corner of Grant Avenue and Main Street. Fankhauser, the city's new mayor, stepped out of the room when the request was discussed.

The sculpture, "Flight Time," by artist Gary Lee Price of Springville, Utah, features two boys at play, the older one swinging the younger by the arms. It depicts two of the artist's five sons at the ages of 4 and 12, which is around the same age Dan and Dick Fankhauser were when the family moved here from Ness City. The boys often played on Grant Avenue while their parents ran the store.

The bronze is 61 inches tall, 62 inches long, 24 inches wide and weighs 210 pounds.

Fankhauser said when he saw it, he thought it might be something his mom would enjoy.

"It kind of caught my eye. The two boys," he said. "We knew a little bit about (the artist) and we saw this and thought it would be a pretty good selection for us."

The artist, Price, has done two other bronze sculptures in Garden City, "Mark Twain on a Bench" and "Journeys of the Imagination," both in front of the Finney County Library.

Fankhauser expects the sculpture to be shipped here any day. When it's installed, there will likely be a dedication of some sort. Fankhauser said his mother hasn't even seen photos of it, but he thinks she'll get a kick out of it when it's unveiled.

"I'm kind of looking forward to it," he said.

The city will install the base and sculpture after it gets clearance from the Kansas Department of Transportation to allow it within Kansas Department of Transportation right-of-way on Main Street, which is also U.S. Highway 83. The sculpture will replace an existing concrete bench that will be moved to another location.

Vivian Fankhauser, Dan's wife and chair of the Friends of Garden City Arts, said in an email the city has helped the arts council with other projects in the past, including "Friends & Frogs" at Third/Fourth Street and Kansas Avenue; the two-sided bas relief sculpture, "Mrs. Fulton's Flower Garden," at the train depot parking lot facing Main; and the kinetic sculpture, "Triple Eclipse Bouquet," at 318 Main in front of the Garden City Arts Gallery.

Another downtown art sculpture will be considered by the city commission soon. The Friends of Garden City Art has also requested permission to erect a large, stainless steel kinetic sculpture by local artist Rusty Burgardt at the northwest corner of Main, Pine and Heroes Way, and Stevens Avenue. It would be located on the triangle property in front of Adams Real Estate and would be visible from five different streets.

The sculpture depicts five rotating "flames" at the top, and will feature a programmable colored LED light in the center that will illuminate the flames in various colors. The color scheme can be changed by remote for special holidays or events. It stands about 18 feet tall. The stainless steel base is a wide square at the bottom and slopes up to a small circle at the top making it impossible to climb.

"It'll be cool," Vivian Fankhauser said.

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