The Center's mission is to foster study of the people and environment of the Great Plains and manage the Great Plains Art Museum
Since 1976 the Center has provided a crucial rallying point for scholars studying the region and for outreach to share their discoveries. The University pays our salaries, but we depend on your support for the extra boost that can move the Center’s work from good to excellent.
- This past year the Center was alive with projects, activities, and partnerships:
- Our Great Plains Graduate Fellows program now includes eighteen bright and accomplished students.
- In the Art Museum, our juried competition “Contemporary Indigeneity,” featured excellent works by regional and Native American artists. Jaune Quick-to-See Smith, our distinguished juror, praised exhibition for the high level of artists who participated.
- We launched the Great Plains Ecotourism Coalition to promote biodiversity conservation and build thriving communities. We featured Katie Nieland’s WPA-inspired images as postcards and posters [available at go.unl.edu/amazon_ecotourism ], which the Library of Congress liked so much they wanted a set for their permanent collection.
- Our April, 2014 Great Plains Symposium, “Drought in the Life, Cultures, and Landscapes of the Great Plains,” organized by Center Fellows Don Wilhite and Mike Hayes, brought distinguished climate scientists and humanists from around the world, including New Yorker writer Ian Frazier and Harvard’s Richard Hornbeck. Conference feedback (including a World-Herald editorial) confirmed it was a big success.
- The 2014 Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize was awarded to Bernard Flaman, a conservation architect from Regina for Architecture in Saskatchewan.
Okay, you say, that’s last year, it’s done and paid for. What’re you going to do now?
- Our 2015 Symposium, “Standing Bear and the Trail Ahead,” on May 14-15 promises to be the best ever. We are co-sponsoring the event with the Nebraska Commission on Indian Affairs and its Executive Director, Judi gaiashkibos.
- We have a fabulous traveling exhibition opening Feb. 3 in the Museum called “Homefront and Battlefield: Quilts and Context in the Civil War” (co-hosted by the Nebraska State Historical Soc.). On April 15, award-winning Lincoln biographer and UNL professor Ken Winkle will deliver an Olson Lecture on “The Civil War in the Great Plains.”
- Spring will bring two additional Olson Lectures: UNL Professors John Anderson and Eric Thompson will discuss “State Taxes in the Great Plains” on Feb. 18; and Roberto Lenton, director of the Water for Food Institute, will discuss how storage is key to ensuring adequate water, food, and energy for a growing world population on March 18.
- Airing in January on NET Radio/TV and on partner stations in South Dakota and Kansas, “Lost Writers of the Plains” will feature Prairie Schooner authors who once were poised for success, but who for various reasons became “lost” to modern readers.
- Our journals, Great Plains Quarterly and Great Plains Research, are online (as well as in print) and available worldwide through Project MUSE. They publish outstanding research, like Graduate Fellow Rob Shepard’s article, “The Role of Gender in Rural Population Decline in Kansas and Nebraska, 1990-2010,” which went viral, landing in Time, on NPR, on the front page of the World-Herald, and elsewhere.
Much, much else is happening; visit our website, www.unl.edu/plains/ to see all that’s going on.
So, I ask you to continue your support the Center. We’ll use your money well. (Contributions to the University and University Foundation are typically tax-deductible.)
I wish you a happy holiday and healthy and prosperous New Year.
Richard Edwards, Center Director