Bronze Sculptures Downtown
Whimsical and playful in design, the work of Washington artist Georgia Gerber’s bronze sculptures dot the downtown Wichita landscape. The DeVore Foundation commissioned the artwork to appear along four blocks of the city’s urban core in the 1990s as part of an initiative to restore the downtown area.
The Douglas Avenue Streetscape sculptures were designed using architectural and natural elements to attract passersby to stop and interact with them. For example, several of the art installations incorporate running water into their design. Residents have embraced the public art installations. It’s not uncommon to see Barefoot Business Man dressed wearing a hat or scarf added by a Wichita resident.
One of the 31 sculptures on display is a bronze soda fountain in Chester I. Lewis Reflection Square Park, on Douglas Avenue between Market and Broadway streets, where a Woolworth five-and-dime store once stood. The location serves as a historical site near where the Dockum Drugstore lunch counter sit-in took place in 1958, which led to the integration of segregated businesses across the nation. The sculpture is representative of soda fountains of that time.
Gerber’s other sculptures along Douglas Avenue depict life-size animals and human figures. How many will you spot along your walk downtown?