A Mighty Wind Organ

McLean near Central

I came across this site and thought it was interesting. It is part of the Wichita Project “Beauty through Sculptures”. The city commissioned several artists to design sculptures to be placed in Wichita. In the mid 90’s this piece was designed by Bart Ewonus and Chris Brunner. 

It is called “Wind Organ” and I was told, when the wind blows a certain way, it plays sounds through its pipes.  Turns out that’s not true.

I reached out to artist Chris Brunner, who said, “The inspiration was our Kansas wind and our love for music. Although the piece doesn’t actually make music or much sound, the visual experience invokes the feeling of an organ in the wind.”

Brunner told me that Bart’s original concept, meant to cover up a giant water pipe, was a series of seven pipes rising from the ground and turning to the street horizontally and another turn down, all the connections were to look like flanged water pipes.”  Chris added, “We revisited it and decided to maintain some of the water pipe feel but expand the musical  element.”

Interesting note: According to Chris, “in 2017 or 2018 a truck jumped the curb and hit the northern keyboard and pipes. There was far more damage to the truck than to the sculpture, however I was hired to perform the repair.”

Special thanks to Chris Brunner for his help on this page.  Brunner has a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Bethany College and a master’s of fine arts in sculpture from WSU.

If his name sounds familiar he did create a sculpture for “Extreme Home Makeover” and you would probably recognize some of his work around town.  Check out the Drury Plaza and CityArts Facade.  He was also a consultant on the Keeper Plaza Interpretive Wall, the Veteran’s Memorial and the U.S.S. Wichita Memorial.

Bart Euwonus was a sculptor from Wichita and graduated from WSU.  According to “The Shocker” magazine, he sang with some of Wichita’s first punk bands in the 1970s including The Censors, The Lemurs and The Bradfords. He would also spend time as a chef at the Wichita Art Museum and would eventually be part of “Rock & Steel” with Brunner.

Bart Ewonus died December 4, 2002 after a short illness.

While Ewonus might be gone, his art lives on… He created the railing for the Mt Vernon bridge between Edgemoor and Woodlawn, the bike bridge by Cessna Park, the animals near the zoo entrance on Zoo Boulevard and the CityArts building sign.

He also helped in the creation of Naftzger Park’s gazebo.  With the recent remodel of Naftzger, the gazebo was moved to O.J. Watson Park.

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