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Time and Place — Robert J. Dole Institute Earthwork Honors Legendary Leader
Emily Becker
Stan Herd Earthworks of Bob Dole at Dole Institute of Politics
BREAKING GROUND: Production of the Bob Dole earthwork at the Dole Institute began in April 2023. The finished piece was a highlight of its landmark event in July.

How do you commemorate a century? When the Robert J. Dole Institute of Politics began planning a landmark event honoring its 20th anniversary and the 100th birthday of its namesake, staff wanted the celebration to leave a mark on Kansas.

To help accomplish this, the Dole Institute turned to Stan Herd, a Kansas artist best known for his large-scale portraits made from natural materials. The artist’s earthwork portrait of Bob Dole became the focal point of the landmark event. The public experienced the artistic process in action as the piece came to life during the three months Herd and his team worked on the hillside east of the Dole Institute.

“We wanted to honor Senator Dole and the Dole Institute as his living legacy with a landmark tribute that invited the public into the creative process and engaged future generations with the story of a great Kansan,” said Audrey Coleman, director of the Dole Institute of Politics.

The artwork featured an image of a younger Senator Dole looking upward reminiscent of the politician’s campaign photos encircled by more than 1,000 tiles with designs that were created by students across the state.

“The Dole Institute strives to inspire the next generation of leaders,” Coleman said. “The opportunity to conduct outreach around Kansas was a unique opportunity for us. We couldn’t be more pleased with the results of the submissions of artwork by students across Kansas — from Abilene to Zenda.”

While the earthwork has begun the process of returning to the ground, the mission of the Dole Institute remains more steadfast than ever and invites others to be part of the organization’s next 20 years.

"The Dole Institute is a treasure here at KU and in Kansas,” Coleman said. “Right here in the middle of the country, as we encourage people to find common ground, our programs are building the leadership our democracy needs. We understand the challenges, we have what it takes and we start every day determined to make a difference. And taking time to celebrate that hard work with stunning publicly engaged art is important too.”


Carry on the Dole Legacy

To be part of the Dole Institute's future, contact Lynate Pettengill at 785-832-7424 or lpettengill@kuendowment.org.

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