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.
Where We Are
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.
This lovely cottage is owned by Laura Berman and her husband, who also host artists apart from the Tallgrass Residency. Laura is a professor at Kansas City Art Institute, and an enthusiastic supporter of the arts and rural life in Matfield Green.
2 = Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve, Strong City, KS
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.
3 = The Volland Store, Volland, KS
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.
4 = Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art, Manhattan, KS
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.
Who We Are
Derek & Katherine Hamm, 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 with other creatives and artists through the Tallgrass Residency Program.
Kelly Yarbrough, Founder
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.
Peter Jasso, Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission
Peter Jasso is a graduate of USC’s School of Cinema-Television with a degree in Film/ Video Production and an alumnus of Film Independent’s Project Involve Mentorship program. He has worked in a variety of capacities in the entertainment industry including sound recording and designing for independent film/video projects, development for various production companies including American Zoetrope and instructor at the New York Film Academy. Peter also produced a short film in Kansas that screened as part of the American Film Institute International Film Festival in LA. He has directed several short documentaries and is a recipient of the Mana de Topeka media award and the KC Film Fest Karen McCarthy Outstanding Service Award. Peter has served as Director of the Kansas Film Commission since 2002 and Director of the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission since its creation in 2012. He is a native of Topeka and currently resides in Lawrence.
Aileen Wang, Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art
Aileen June Wang is the associate curator at the Beach Museum of Art in Manhattan, KS. Prior to this appointment, she taught art history at Penn State University Behrend College and Long Island University Post. She also worked at Christie’s New York as a client advisor to develop Asian and Asian American client bases. 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. Aileen was awarded a fellowship in the 2012 National Endowment for Humanities Summer Institute on Asian American Art, hosted by New York University. Before relocating to Manhattan, Aileen regularly lectured for Long Island University’s popular Hutton House Lectures series and for Christie’s Education, and wrote reviews for Art in America and online art and culture magazine artcritical.com.
Patty Reece, The Volland Store
The granddaughter of a West Texas farmer, Patty learned to love the land at an early age and that affection has never abated. Moving to Kansas as a newlywed, she was captivated by her first experience of the Flint Hills. It felt like discovering a very old and primeval place of extraordinary beauty. Whether in the country or in a city neighborhood, Patty saw the skill and determination of those who had created structures and landscapes that served basic needs but never neglected beauty. The need for preserving this authenticity compelled her to complete project after project. Eventually she found her way back to the Flint Hills that she had always admired. Patty’s involvement in Symphony in the Flint Hills, The Nature Conservancy, the restoration of a family homestead in Wabaunsee County, and now The Volland Store have grown from the connection she has felt to the land for as long as she can remember.
Laura Berman, Prairieside Cottage & Outpost
Laura Crehuet Berman is a native of Barcelona, Spain, where her love for pattern, design and bold colors originated. Her work’s focus on relationships and recombination of forms relate to her nomadic history of relocation and travel. Her work has been featured in The Book of Probes by David Carson / Marshall McLuhan, Printmaking at the Edge by Richard Noyce, Contemporary American Printmakers by Rooney, Standish, and A Survey of Contemporary Printmaking, by Ehlers, Ehlbeck and Muise. Laura Berman’s work is represented by Weinberger Fine Art (Kansas City, MO), Long View Gallery (Washington, D.C.) and Uprise Art (New York City). She publishes her work through Bedrock Art Editions (Kansas City, MO), Círculo del Arte (Barcelona, Spain), Grand Image (Seattle, WA) and Pele Prints (St. Louis, MO). In 2014 Berman and her husband opened Prairieside Cottage and Outpost, a family-friendly artist retreat in the Flint Hills of Kansas.
Katherine Hamm, The Bank Art Space
Katherine Hamm has been practicing graphic and product design for the last 8 years. She and her husband Derek recently took over management of the Bank Art Space in Matfield Green, KS.
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, Director of the 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. During her time at the Indianapolis Museum of Art Duke helped conceive and plan new programming for the expanded museum facility in 2005, followed by the Tobias Theater in 2008 and 100 Acres: The Virginia B. Fairbanks Art and Nature Park in 2010. 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.
Linda has been instrumental in supporting the Tallgrass Artist Residency by hosting the Tallgrass Artist Symposium event at the Beach and offering guidance in the development of the program.