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Donor's gift to help restore Weaver Court sculpture garden

Weaver Court, the once-vibrant home of art and a garden, will be rejuvenated as a haven for sculpture and natural beauty, thanks to gifts from three donors.

The courtyard, located directly south of Spooner Hall, was constructed as a sculpture garden. The original donors were Mr. and Mrs. N.T. Veatch and Mr. and Mrs. A.B. Weaver, in memory of A.D. Weaver. Tommy Constant was a substantial contributor to the construction phase of the project. The original court, formally dedicated as the Arthur D. Weaver Memorial Fountain Court, was intended to become a permanent, open-air sculpture exhibition and contained several important works of art including, among others, "French Fountain Group" by Pierre LeGros the Elder, "Portrait of August Renoir" by Aristide Malliol and "Resurrection" by Georg Kolbe. The works were gifts from the Veatch and Weaver families.

None of the three works can be found at the court today. According to Jeff Weinberg, assistant to the chancellor, the Malliol was stolen in December 1967 and never recovered, and "Group" and"Resurrection," which are quite fragile, are in protective storage, though on occasion they are displayed at the Spencer Museum of Art. Other pieces were removed from the court when the art museum moved from Spooner to its current location.

The refurbished courtyard will be home to four pieces titled "Garden Sculptures," which will on permanent loan from the Spencer museum. The "Garden Sculptures" were created by the late Kansas City artist Richard Hollander. Three of the stainless steel pieces will be located in a grouping near the center of the court, and a fourth will be centered on the north side of the courtyard, between windows of Spooner Hall. Access to the garden is just south of Spooner's main entrance.

A fountain that was part of the original courtyard will be preserved as well. It is no longer viable as a working fountain but will be used as a planter, said Greg Wade, landscape architect with Design and Construction Management. There will also be four new park benches installed, and the native limestone wall surrounding the courtyard will be preserved.

The restoration will be funded by gifts from Jane V. Barber, the Historic Mount Oread Fund and Weaver's Inc.

Facilities Operations will begin work in the spring, with a completion goal of early May, Wade said.

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