Friends of the Plains Explore Kansas Folk Art

April 5, 2012

The Center for Great Plains Studies at Emporia State University will host Folk Art In Kansas, a presentation and discussion by Erika Nelson at the Friends of the Plains Dinner on April 13 at 7:30 p.m. at the Granada Theatre in downtown Emporia. Members of the community are invited to attend the free program.

The program is made possible by the Kansas Humanities Council. Before the presentation, a chuckwagon style dinner will be served by Flying W Ranch and a cash bar will be open at 6 p.m. Dinner reservations cost $25 per person and may be made by calling the Center for Great Plains Studies at 620.341.5574 or by emailing

From wheat weaving and egg painting traditions passed down from immigrant ancestors to visionary environments composed of cement sculptures or metal whirlygigs and the internationally renowned work of Elizabeth “Grandma” Layton, Kansas folk art represents the innovative spirit of the state. Nelson’s presentation will look at folk art and “outsider” art as part of Kansas history and heritage.

Erika Nelson is an independent artist, educator and director of World’s Largest Things, Inc. Nelson explores the back roads of the United States in search of the odd and unique in her mobile museum, The World’s Largest Collection of the World’s Smallest Version of the World’s Largest Things. When not on the road, Erika promotes and participates in her adopted home community of Lucas, Kan. 

“I’ve spent the last nine years as an independent artist and educator, exploring the nooks and crannies of the United States seeking out the odd and unusual,” shared Nelson. “I gather stories of people who build outsider art environments, as well as roadside vernacular architecture, known as World’s Largest Things, examining overlaps between traditional and non-traditional artistic expressions. Many untrained arts and artists come from a handcraft or folk art tradition, and take them to unexpected, expanded form. The connection to community and visual explorations combine in the Folk Art In Kansas presentation.”

The Kansas Humanities Council conducts and supports community-based programs, serves as a financial resource through an active grant-making program, and encourages Kansans to participate in their communities. For more information about KHC programs visit online at

The Center for Great Plains Studies promotes the academic programs, public service activities, and research projects intended to inform, interest, and promote appreciation of the sprawling mid-continental grasslands. For more information about Center programs visit online at



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