Keeper of the Plans

$1 million gift will preserve Wichita State’s outdoor sculptures

Joan Beren with Robert Indiana’s “Love” sculpture, part of Wichita State’s Martin H. Bush Outdoor Sculpture Collection.
Joan Beren with Robert Indiana’s “Love” sculpture, part of Wichita State’s Martin H. Bush Outdoor Sculpture Collection. Courtesy photo

Well-known Wichita philanthropist Joan Beren was an “ardent admirer” of Wichita State University’s public art collection, according to her son, Adam.

The late Beren, who served two terms on the WSU Board of Trustees and chaired the Ulrich Museum of Art’s Outdoor Sculpture Commmittee for several years, bequeathed more than $1 million to the university to create the Joan S. Beren Outdoor Sculpture Conservation Fund before her passing in January.

The university announced the gift at a recent ceremony celebrating the return of Joan Miro’s “Personnages Oiseaux” mural after a five-year, $2.2 million conservation and restoration project.

Her gift will cover maintenance and cleaning of not only “Personnages Oiseaux,” but also for the other 75 works in WSU’s Martin H. Bush Outdoor Sculpture Collection.

Some of the more well-known works in the collection include Tom Otterness’ “Millipede,” Robert Indiana’s “Love,” Andy Goldsworthy’s “Wichita Arch,” John Kearney’s “Grandfather’s Horse,” and Cork Marcheschi’s neon “Flint Hills Apparition.”

For those who may have never seen the collection, it’s a fun way to spend an afternoon, and – most of all – it’s totally free.

A map of the 76 pieces in the collection is available online, and in the Ulrich.

Matt Riedl: 316-268-6660, @RiedlMatt

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