Art Of the Matter

200 W. Douglas

I know I have mentioned it before, but I work at the Garvey Center.  There are several buildings that make up the complex built in the late 60’s and early 70’s.  On nice days, one of my favorite things to do is sit in the courtyard at Kiva.  The courtyard has fountains that are home to two pairs of ducks.  I like to call them, “Wichita’s Mighty Ducks.”  For lunch, I like to grab some grub at Omelette Pages. Veronica, the owner, serves up a hearty meal at a good price.  Before I went on a diet, I would get her to-go order of quesadillas and then sit in the courtyard and relax listening to the water fountains and checking out the “Sky-Earth-Medicine” sculpture.  After nearly two years of looking at the sculpture I decided it was time to write about it.

Tom Montemurro built the sculpture in his backyard in Leon, Kansas.  His interest in the art form dates back to the late 50’s and early 60’s.  At the time, he was studying industrial design in San Jose, California.  

Montemurro completed The Sky-Earth-Medicine sculpture in 1973.  A year later he graduated from WSU.

The life-size piece was made with hand-hammered pieces of bronze which were then welded into place.  The sculpture is of a Native-American in headdress, loincloth, and moccasins. He is seated on a horse, and looking upward toward his raised hands and the sky above. The whole thing is mounted on a base of metal pipes and concrete, set in the fountain pool.

The artist usually works with several different metals but has also been known to combine the metals with foam, resin, woods, and fiberglass.

Montemurro did not like to sketch out his sculptures; according to the Wichita Eagle he, “just liked to start with an idea, creating the proportions and details as he works.” 

Interesting side note: The artist’s wife (a K-State grad) sat on the horse so Montemurro could check for placement of the feet, legs, and knees.

Special thanks to Sara at Bonavia Properties for her great help with the research.