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CONTENTS

Original Press Release

Introduction

Bachelor's Song Journal

Farmers Dream
Performance

Field Journal

Featured Kansas Artists, Institutions & Partners

Publication

PDF Downloads

Acknowledgments

INTRODUCTION

This website-in-progress started as a hardcopy book project, a Field Journal of 1,000 drawings depicting indigenous plants, insects, reptiles, birds and other animals in Kansas drawn on reused or recycled letter-size paper. Drawn by children, youth, adults and teens, their journey would begin with dictionaries (what is indigenous?), trigger searches through yards, neighborhoods, parks and preserves, ending with image-making, the nonverbal literacy of experience. The journal envisioned documenting an ecological Gold Rush, an environmental Homestead Act. Is anything around us indigenous, or imported and invasive? Are the “weeds” that we are always trying to kill the truly indigenous plants to our environments? What if they suddenly had dollar value? Why are we still caught in the colonial dynamic of importing an ideal European landscape, killing what is American? What if we finally valued our drought-resistant, deeply rooted indigenous ecology, in terms of water conservation, with no need for insecticides and fertilizers, carcinogens and contaminants? Project Coordinator Connie Burket baptized it as The Great Prairie Drawdown, while Art Center Director and Curator Chris Cook imagined a website encompassing the entire Dreaming Kansas project. We are always dreaming Kansas, though it peaks during presidential elections when opponents suddenly remember, manipulate, and are competitively proprietary of this mythological real estate. Kansas remains America’s heartland of the mind, and Salina remains the heart of the heartland. But the dreams of the nation are not necessarily the dreams of its farmers. Farmers Dream big and small dreams, mostly about their vanishing way of life. Therefore, this project also included conversations with men who live alone on the land, and a durational performance that created a poetic farming community for one long summer night’s dream. I hope that you can walk through its documentation, which was a harvest of love.