There is a number of strips of duct tape on the eastern side of the Blue Sky Sculpture on North Kansas Avenue — and for now, they belong there.
"There are some loose tiles," said Erin McDaniel, director of communications for the city of Newton. "It has been a reoccurring problem. A tile will get wobbly on the sculpture. To make sure that they do not fall or break, our park staff keeps an eye on it and there were several loose ones this time."
The sculpture was designed through the joint efforts of artists Phil Epp, painter and designer; Terry Corbett, ceramist and designer; and Conrad Snider, ceramist and designer.
The sculpture features more than 900 of tiles, custom painted to look like a cloudy Kansas sky. About eight are currently missing, taken by parks staff until they can be reattached.
The city parks department will repair the sculpture later this year.
"It takes warmer weather to get them stuck back on," McDaniel said. "In the meantime it doesn't look the prettiest, but that tape is what they have the best luck with. They really do not want to risk any of those tiles breaking."
The sculpture stands at the entrance of Newton's "Pod Park," established in 2002. The natural park contains pathways that connect with the Sand Creek Trail and natural "pods" made from recycled Park materials, like rocks and tree logs, to provide opportunities for children to climb and play.
Epp’s Blue Sky Sculpture was named one of the Kansas Sampler Foundation’s Eight Wonders of Kansas Art in 2008.
A ceremony in November 2002 dedicated the work to the memory of Jacqueline M. Smith, a patron of the arts in Newton and late wife of Lloyd T. Smith, who financed the project.