The Tallgrass Prairie
Though only a fraction of the unique tallgrass ecosystem remains, the prairie has been instrumental in constructing a narrative and identity of the North American Midwest. Given the prairie’s geographic location, this vast sea of grass has remained significant to the people’s who have occupied it. From ‘first nation’ communities to European settlers, this vast sea of grass has proved to be an invaluable resource to cities as far apart as Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, and Dallas. Urban communities have continually relied on prairie resources to establish themselves, as well as the many farming and ranching communities of the Midwest that support the majority of the country’s agricultural production.
1 Matfield Green
Managed by Derek and Katherine, the Bank is Ground Zero for the Tallgrass Artist Residency. This is where the group exhibitions are held in the Fall. Stop by and say hello!
Owned by Bill and Julia McBride, Matfield Station is a historic Santa Fe Railroad bunkhouse, renovated with a modernist prairie aesthetic. Matfield Station has three guest rooms and is a short walk to the Bank Art Space. It’s also just next door to Bill’s sculpture studio and the McBride’s home.
2 Strong City
Over ten thousand acres of native tallgrass prairie are preserved here for the public. Multiple trails allow pedestrian access into some of the farthest reaches of the preserve, out of sight from any cars, roads or buildings. The preserve is jointly owned by the National Park Service and the Nature Conservancy, and offers friendly, helpful staff.
Built in 1913 as a mercantile in Volland, KS, the Volland Store got a major facelift in 2014. Owner Patty Reece converted the old mercantile building into an art gallery, workshop and loft space for hosting artists and events. As another excellent contemporary art venue in central Kansas, we are glad to have the Volland Store as a partner for 2017.
Located on the edge of the Kansas State University campus in Manhattan, KS, the Beach Museum is a valuable institution in exhibiting and promoting regional art and artists. The Beach hosts the annual Tallgrass Artist Symposium, at which participating artists-in-residence present their work and experiences from the residency program.
Konza Prairie Biological Station (KPBS) is located on a 3,487 hectare native tallgrass prairie preserve jointly owned by The Nature Conservancy and Kansas State University. KPBS is operated as a field research station by the KSU Division of Biology. The station is dedicated to a three-fold mission of long-term ecological research, education, and prairie conservation. It is a unique outdoor laboratory that provides opportunities for the study of tallgrass prairie ecosystems and for basic biological research on a wide range of taxa and processes. The station is open to scientists and students from throughout the world.
Kelly Yarbrough, Founder & Coordinator
Kelly Yarbrough started the Tallgrass Artist Residency as a graduate student at Kansas State University in 2016. Originally from Plano, Texas, Kelly found herself in Manhattan, KS for grad school and was surprised to find that there’s a lot going on in central Kansas — ecologically and creatively. This residency program was inspired by the potential for a partnership between the tiny town of Matfield Green (which boasted two contemporary art galleries and a sculpture path) and the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve (the largest remaining swath of tallgrass prairie). From there, the program grew into a network of regional partners, full of prairie pride.
Kelly is also an artist, still captivated by the prairie.
Katherine & Derek Hamm, On-site residency managers and co-managers of the Bank Art Space
Derek and Katherine Hamm took over management of The Bank Art Space in 2016. The Bank is an inviting place where locals, travelers, and visitors meet, with fresh coffee, WIFI, and contemporary art on display. Derek and Katherine are both native Kansans, graphic designers, and enjoy living on the prairie. They love sharing the experience of the prairie through the Tallgrass Residency Program.
Matt Regier (The Bank Art Space)
Amy Kligman (Charlotte Street Foundation)
Casey Whittier (Kansas City Art Institute, Tallgrass Artist Residency 2016)
Sarah Price (Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art)
Peter Jasso (Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission)
Bill & Julia McBride, Matfield Station
Bill and Julia McBride purchased Matfield Station in 2001 after their third trip to Chase County, Kansas. The historic Santa Fe building was “one good rain away” from collapse, and the McBrides couldn’t stand to see the bunkhouse disintegrate. Bill, an architect from Chicago, worked with a local team to restore the building and convert it into three comfortable and cozy guest rooms. Relocating from Chicago during this process, Bill and Julia lived at Matfield Station while their house (and Bill’s sculpture studio) was built just 400 feet from the bunkhouse. Bill and Julia are gracious hosts and ardent supporters of contemporary art in Matfield Green.
Heather Brown, Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve
Chief of Interpretation for the Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve in Strong City, Heather Brown has been supportive of the Tallgrass Artist Residency since its conception. Heather and her team are excellent resources for learning more about the tallgrass prairie and the Preserve. Heather is pictured here with 2016 artist-in-resident, Lisa Grossman.
Linda Duke & Aileen June Wang, Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art
Linda Duke joined the Beach Museum of Art in 2011 after serving as director of audience engagement for the Indianapolis Museum of Art, as well as their director of education. Previous appointments have been with the University of California, Los Angeles Hammer Museum and the Krannert Art Museum at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She also was an assistant professor in the School of Art and Design at Illinois.
Aileen June Wang is an associate curator at the Beach Museum of Art. Prior to this appointment, she taught art history at Penn State University, Behrend College, and Long Island University Post. Her research interests lie in contemporary art, especially Chinese and Asian American, and secondarily in Renaissance art. Current passions include graffiti and street art, and art utilizing digital media and Web technology as artistic platforms.