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New sculptures installed at Omaha's Gene Leahy Mall ahead of July 1 opening

Posted at 8:06 PM, Jun 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-23 21:06:54-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — "Definitely by say Tuesday, we'll have all five of the pieces in place and bolted to the ground," Stephan Grot, executive director of KANEKO.

Thursday marked day two of installing five sculptures in the newly renovated Gene Leahy Mall. KANEKO, an Old Market space devoted to creativity and art, was tasked with finding the pieces. It's a process that Grot said had to happen quickly.

"The pieces needed to exist already. We only had a year to be able to put these together and within that year we had to have five pieces that are a sure thing, that they were definitely going to make it for opening day," Grot said.

But he is happy with the selections that will debut on July 1.

"Each one of these five pieces are all very different shapes, so I mean, another really beautiful aspect about the variety is each one of these sculptures is very very different," Grot said.

Throughout the process, Grot said they had to follow specific criteria including withstanding the Omaha weather.

"We needed to get steel, something, you know, that was really durable not only to the weather but to all the people who are going to be coming through. Obviously people are going to be touching it and walking up to it," Grot said.

Size was also a requirement.

"Each piece needed to fit on a six-by-six pad," Grot said.

With just days left until the opening of the new mall, Grot said he could not be happier with the artists they landed on.

"Even if we did have more time, these five sculptors are totally like a dream team of people," Grot said.

You'll have plenty of time to come to see the sculptures for yourself, the artwork will be on display for three years as a part of the rotating gallery at the mall.

Three of the five artists will be at the ribbon-cutting next Friday. The next day two of them, James Surls and Bruce Beasley, will have a community conversation on the mall's northwest end. That event will be from 11 a.m. to noon and you can RSVP for it at

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