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After 5: K-Man vs. Sun Target

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Springfield boasts nearly 50 public art pieces. They’re all demanding for our attention, which leaves us confronted with the questions: What makes a good piece of public art? And why do we want to spend time with it?

Arguably, K-Man in Jordan Valley Park and Sun Target outside the Springfield Art Museum are the most top-of-mind.

Here, they go head-to-head in Springfield Business Journal’s attempt to settle any debate.

Size factor
: All two stories of this 1,000-pound brushed metal monster make for an intimidating force. But then you realize you control his arm, leg and head movements by the turn of a wheel at the structure’s base, and K-Man comes down to earth, even for children. Still, the piece stands tall in the vast Jordan Valley Park, overlooking the young trees surrounding it.

Sun Target
: Where K-Man scores in height, Sun Target gets points for its roughly 50-foot length. Its leading lines take you right into the Springfield Art Museum, serving its purpose well.

Winner: Even. At 23-feet tall compared to occupying land mass, call it a toss up.

K-Man: K-Man does a good job of humanizing the robot-resembling piece, and the mobility factor helps us identify.

Sun Target: The pile of yellow metal sticks are affectionately called the French Fries.

Winner: Sun Target. I call it like I see it.

Landmark status
K-Man: He competes for attention with a playful water fountain and downhill stream in Jordan Valley Park and is nestled between two landmarks in their own rights – Hammons Field and Mediacom Ice Park.

Sun Target: Can’t miss the burst of yellow driving down National Avenue, and Sun Target is often used as an identifier of where to turn into the Springfield Art Museum.

Winner: Sun Target. Turn at the French Fries.

Interactivity and imagination
K-Man: By the turn of a handle, kids and adults alike send K-Man’s arms and legs into motion and his head a-swiveling. There’s just something about realizing you have the power to make this 23-foot steel monster move that elicits a confident and comical snicker.

Sun Target: The city has posted a “no trespassing” sign on the grassy triangular property. Enough said.

Winner: K-Man. We’re all law-abiding citizens, right?

A good story
K-Man: He was created by Russ RuBert in 1994 for the Walt Disney Children’s Arts Festival held on the lawn of the Missouri Capitol and governor’s mansion in Jefferson City.

Sun Target: Springfield’s Sun Target is the first of two by artist John Henry created in 1974. The other is at the Mint Museum of Art in Charlotte, N.C.

: K-Man. He was dismantled and relocated some 140 miles.

Overall winner
: K-Man. This is more than a hometown pick for Springfield artist RuBert, who has become an expert in taking art beyond the visual with electronics, kinetics and lighting. K-Man connects with all ages, the ultimate in public art, and has taken on a personality of his own.[[In-content Ad]]


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