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Peace Poles art project aims to inspire hope, creativity in Lenexa

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Posted at 7:59 PM, May 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-14 20:59:13-04

LENEXA, Kan. — Peace, hope, creativity, community involvement – these are the pillars Lenexa is trying to build on. Literally.

“The last year that we’ve been through, with having to stay home and not see their friends you know, and things like that… I think it’s just been really nice to have a message of peace and a way to bring a smile to people,” Susanne Neely, with the Lenexa Parks and Recreation Department, said.

And that message is displayed on peace poles – with designs from 30 local artists – scattered throughout Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park. The project, with 37 poles in the park, is a partnership between the Lenexa Rotary Club, Rotary Club of Western Johnson County, the Lenexa Arts Council and the City of Lenexa.

“The artists put heart and soul into these poles," Neely said. "They spent an enormous amount of time to decorate them. I hope you’ll just come out and see it because they’re just beautiful.”

At the end of the exhibit, the peace poles will be sold in an auction. All proceeds will go toward Project 10 20, which is the only shelter in Johnson County for adults who are experiencing homelessness. They provide transportation, meals, beds and support as people get back on their feet.

“It can happen to any one of us,” said Barbara McEver, co-founder and president of Project 10 20. “There’s a stigma that’s put on homelessness, and it doesn’t always look like what you think it’s going to look like. So I’m sure all of us, everyday, run into people that’s experiencing homelessness and we have no idea.”

McEver said in an area like Johnson County, people who in live in the gaps of the community, might often be overlooked. She said she hopes the donations can go toward helping her clients become independent.

“It’s so difficult, there’s so much more than just, ‘Go get that job,’" McEver said. "People experiencing homelessness have so many obstacles in front of them. They need the help, they need the respect, they need the smile.”

To sponsor and learn more about the Peace Poles Community Art project, visit the City of Lenexa website.