Celebrating the wonder of youth and the spirit of life
Prairie Girl is a life-size bronze statue, approximately 53″ tall, of a girl in plain dress, standing and lightly wind-swept, holding a cardinal. She is the work of Lawrence K. Johnson, sculptor, and is featured at Peck Farm Park – in the center of its Sensory Gardens – in Geneva, Illinois. Prairie Girl invites visitors to join in “celebrating the wonder of youth and the spirit of life.” The Mebane family of Geneva conceived of Prairie Girl on one of their many walks in the Park following the death of their 19-year-old daughter/sister, Emma, in 2011. The hope is that Emma will smile on Prairie Girl from her berth in the heavens.
A tribute to children, especially those who are no longer with us
The Mebanes commissioned the work through the family-operated Starshine Galaxy Foundation NFP, and the statue is intended as a tribute to children, especially those who are no longer with us. Sculptor Johnson artfully brought the Mebanes’ dream to life in just over a year. He began design work in June 2015, and the piece was cast in Oregon, Illinois, during the first few months of 2016. Prairie Girl was publicly unveiled in her place at Peck Farm Park on July 8, 2016, and dedicated on October 29, 2016.
Larry Johnson – “searching for elements of life”
Larry Johnson shoehorned his professional pursuit of art around a 30+-year business career at IBM. As student & young artist, Larry earned his BFA at Fontbonne College, studied sculpture at the University of Chicago and completed an MFA in Sculpture at Southern Illinois University. Through this study, Larry worked under renowned, accomplished artists and created a significant body of work through the 1980s. In 2010, post retirement from IBM, Larry returned to sculpture full-time, and his works (mostly figurative) may now be found in many private collections and public settings across the U.S. Larry maintains his studio in Geneva, Illinois, where he lives with his wife, Mary Jane, and son, Anthony. Larry is a board member for the Geneva Foundation for the Arts and is a member of the Greater Geneva Art Guild. (Contact Larry at email@example.com.)
Emma Mebane, a shining star – “embrace life with no regrets”
When Emma Mebane died in her sleep in July 2011 at the age of 19, she was on the threshold of her dreams. She had just completed her freshman year at Illinois State University and only recently had been accepted as a major in ISU’s School of the Arts. Grounded in Geneva, Illinois, Emma had a flourishing network of family & friends, who remember her fun-loving nature, her unfettered spirit, and her compassion, creativity, and radiance. She is known for having an extraordinary ability for teaching others how to shine. (Find Emma Mebane Community on Facebook.)
Peck Farm Park
Crown Jewel of the Geneva Park District
A 385-acre natural retreat, Peck Farm Interpretive Center is a picturesque prairie wonderland complete with trails, a 19-acre pond, picnic areas, outdoor amphitheater, playing fields, observation silo, outdoor butterfly house, a visitor’s center, and open prairie stretching out in all directions. One of the newer additions is the Sensory Gardens (where Prairie Girl stands). The Geneva Park District has been meeting the needs of a growing community since 1953. Overall, the District now maintains 50 parks, covering 700+ acres, and it offers 3,000 programs annually to its residents and guests.
A premier place to live, work, play, and raise a family
Located 40 miles west of Chicago along the scenic Fox River, the City of Geneva is home to 20,000+ residents, with excellent schools, parks, and community resources. It is on the Metra UP West commuter line and is the seat of Kane County government. Geneva’s charming hometown character is found in its historic architecture, thriving downtown, quiet neighborhoods, and breathtaking vistas and open spaces. With festivals and events year-round, Geneva is a small, vibrant city ideal for shopping, dining, recreation, art & entertainment.
Donors & Supporters
Prairie Girl is made possible through the contributions and collaborative efforts of Starshine Galaxy Foundation NFP, LK Johnson Studio, the Geneva Park District, the Geneva Foundation for the Arts, Art Casting of Illinois, The Countertop Factory, Byus Steel, Ozinga, and numerous individuals.