Design Dialogue on Chester I. Lewis Park
A project by three graduate students in the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional & Community Planning from K-State’s College of Architecture, Planning & Design (Students: Skylar Brown, Andrea Lemken, Wei Sun, with faculty advisor Katie Kingery-Page)
Chester I. Lewis Reflection Park in Wichita, Kansas is a downtown pocket park commemorating the life of a prominent lawyer of the Young Turks era of the NAACP. Part of Lewis' legacy, the Dockum Drugstore Sit-In of 1958, was the first sit-in of the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. Although the park opened in 2000, it was not designated to commemorate Chester Lewis until 2007. At that time, the city installed a sculpture representing a lunch counter. In its current condition, Lewis park is underutilized. In the contemporary context of dialogue on memorials in public space, the student design team sees its role in this hypothetical project as working with community partners to advocate for strengthening the park’s commemorative significance and providing inclusive green space in the downtown. The park’s location within blocks of the actual Dockum Drugstore Sit-In site broadens the scope of design to include the adjacent streetscape. The design team addresses the future potential of Lewis Park through three lenses: cultural inclusiveness, theories of nature and psychological restoration, and linking strands of civil rights history through city streetscapes. Findings from community input result in a series of proposals—work in progress intended to promote community dialogue for the future of the park.
The students will present their ideas in an immersive installation at Fisch Haus from February 23 - March 30, 2018. The gallery will be open both Final Fridays from 7-10PM; otherwise, by appointment. Call 200-5200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a time.
Wichita City Council Member Brandon Johnson will offer a few introductory remarks at 8PM on February 23.
This exhibition has been made possible with support from Downtown Wichita.