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A little more than a year following the groundbreaking on a new office location for the REACH Foundation, REACH staff moved into the permanent headquarters at 8131 Metcalf Avenue in Overland Park, KS. The foundation is both a tenant and investor in the four-story Avenue 82 project located by downtown Overland Park. REACH partnered on the project with BRR Architecture, an architectural design firm that was one of the foundation’s neighbors at REACH’s original location at 6700 Antioch Road in Merriam.
The foundation’s offices at the Avenue 82 building are located on the second floor. REACH also secured space on the first floor for a community meeting room space that can accommodate groups of up to 90 people.
“We plan to continue the foundation’s tradition of sharing our space and capabilities with nonprofit organizations for planning sessions, trainings and educational events,” said President and CEO Brenda Sharpe. “Bringing people together to problem-solve and learn is essential to our mission of advancing health across the region.”
To reinforce ideals of community, REACH invited artists to showcase their interpretations of health and well-being to the offices. Five artists were selected to bring an artistic element to REACH. Each artist brought a different regional perspective to our work.
JT Daniels, noted for his colorful murals and graphical style, created a mural for the foundation’s kitchen area. The artist’s outdoor murals can be found in downtown Overland Park, along Troost Avenue in Kansas City, MO, and in other parts of Johnson County, KS, and Cass County, MO. His work is focused on inclusion, representation and showcasing how beautiful our communities look when we embrace one another’s differences. The former youth development coordinator and artist previously worked with youth in the historic northeast part of Kansas City as well as in Johnson County with adults with developmental disabilities.
Sheron Smith created a “Community Circles” series of light-reflecting wood and clay sculptures that depict health, family, caring and connectedness. Smith says the circle has significance in much of her current work—conveying strength, love, continuity, earth, life, community and renewal. Now a full-time artist, Smith was an educator in USD 500 in Kansas City, KS, for 31 years. She works in a variety of media, including inks, textured abstracts and sculpture.
Tom Ellis is a native of Allen County, KS. Ellis grew up in Iola, graduating from Iola High School. He attended Pittsburg State University and the Kansas City Art Institute. After college, he moved to New York City to pursue theater work and then to Los Angeles. He currently resides on family land in Humboldt, KS, where he continues to paint and revisit paintings that he produced. REACH acquired one of those pieces titled “Glacial Stream II.” Ellis, a lifelong activist, is passionate about access to healthcare for all and other social justice issues.
The foundation came across Rebecca Tombaugh’s work during a staff retreat at Nonprofit Village, 31 W. 31st Street, Kansas City. One of Tombaugh’s pen and ink paper murals was hanging in the center. Tombaugh sketches with calligraphy pen and acrylic ink. She produced an 18-foot mural on white paper for REACH that incorporates iconic structures from the foundation’s six-county service area. To prepare, she invited REACH staff to offer suggestions on recognizable landmarks. She made road trips to check out the various counties in which REACH funds and put together the mural that hangs in the first-floor community room.
On a final note: Bison Woodworking of Humboldt, KS, provided a craftsman element for the second-floor conference room – a handcrafted walnut conference table. Craig Newman started Bison out of his garage in 2006 and in 2016 moved his operation to a larger facility just outside of the town center in Humboldt. REACH became aware of the company through our community investments in health programs in Allen County.
For information on use of the foundation’s community room, contact Mathew Davis, firstname.lastname@example.org.