I was checking out the art in the Fidelity Bank Courtyard. It’s a small area between their beautiful modern building and their fantastic job on remodeling the Carnegie Library. Three statues stand proudly in the space. I am researching them right now.
But the one I was really drawn to was one of a young kid riding a giant paper airplane, known as “Journeys of the Imagination.” There are several other paper airplanes and the same kid is seen sitting at the bottom of the sculpture. It’s whimsical to me. So cool. I believe the kid is imagining flying on that paper airplane.
On his own website the artist said of the piece, “Each piece represents the freedom and the joy for life that so many of us lose sight of in our busy and responsible lives. The mail‑order glider, paper airplanes and pogo sticks become symbols of our dreams and aspirations.” Later he explains, “I also wanted to say something about childhood and our fascination with flight. To me, flight represents freedom and rising above our problems and gaining that all so important perspective on life…”
So, who is Gary Lee Price?
Gary Lee Price was born May 2, 1955. At the age of six he witnessed the murder-suicide of his Mom and stepdad in Germany. He returned home to the U.S. and was raised by his mom’s first husband. After high school he studied at several schools and went on a mission trip to Germany for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. After the two-year mission he studied at Brigham Young University in Egypt and was educated at Utah Valley University and graduated with a B.A. in Art from University of Utah.
Price painted and sold his landscape paintings. He supported his art by working as a ranch hand, a jewelry salesman and a farmer. His work began gaining recognition and he has been working as a full-time artist for years.
In 1991, Gary Lee Price was elected a member of the National Sculpture Society.
Gary lives in Buckeye, Arizona with his wife, Leesa Clark Price. Check out his website: garyleeprice.com
Journeys of The Imagination was bought by Fidelity Bank in 2015. It was part of the Centennial Celebration of the Carnegie Library.
Journeys is not the only Price Statue in our fair city. Botanica boasts four of them.
This was installed in 2002, a gift from Kate Bell and Christine Paulsen Polk. Polk and Bell are charter members of Botanica and they picked it because it, “exudes the warmth and love that most adults have for children.”
Polk also wrote “Beautifying Wichita Through Sculpture” which has been a great resource to me and my research for this website.
The artist talks about his love of nature and growing plants as a child stating, “This piece represents that magic, that joy that comes via faith, hard work and finally, the splendid results.”
Mr. & Mrs. C.J. Nelson donated this piece which was installed in 1998.
Price writes of the piece, “It suggests the tender care and concern that moves us to help others. And finally, it recalls the inquisitiveness and exploration of youth that motivates and inspires us all.”
He added a note about the placement of this statue in many botanical gardens, “It has been rewarding to see (the statue) acquired by several botanical gardens, some with specialized butterfly grounds. I enjoy watching my work find its proper home.”
Donated by Marni Stevens in memory of her husband Frank Stevens, this statue was installed in 2011.
Fine Feathered Friends
Was donated by Don Tener in memory of his wife, Janice.
The artist said this piece was inspired by all the bird lovers in his family and is “dedicated to those of us who enjoy the ornithological world and find simple pleasure in watching them flutter about.”
Special thanks to Kyle Christensen for his excellent help on researching the sculptures in Botanica’s collection.