The Dust Bowl represents a remarkable moment in human history. Tremendous artistic and cultural documentation of the Dust Bowl, much of it federally-sponsored, left an indelible mark for generations, a mark emblazoned in hearts and minds through persistent historic and scientific investigation. Through the lens of research, we understand not only the lessons of the past, but also their relevance as we confront our own prospective environmental disasters.
1 Kansas Farmer draws inspiration from the art, science, and history of the Dust Bowl, turning to precisely these disciplines for a better understanding of the realities facing Kansas today. The six posters in the series draw inspiration from the art, science, and history of the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, turning to these very disciplines for a better understanding of environmental realities facing Kansas today. 1 Kansas Farmer visually communicates the research of the Biofuels and Climate Change: Farmers’ Land Use Decisions (BACC:FLUD) project currently being conducted by scholars at the University of Kansas and Kansas State University. The project examines how Kansas farmers make decisions about land use with a focus on the relationship of those decisions to biofuel crop opportunities and information regarding climate change. To design the panels, 24 graphic design students engaged with photographs taken by Larry Schwarm, an artist commissioned by the Spencer Museum and the BACC:FLUD team to investigate the conditions under which agriculture occurs in Kansas today. The students also incorporated artworks from the Spencer Museum of Art and Kansas State’s Beach Museum of Art, interview quotations, survey responses, and other research materials collected by the BACC:FLUD team.
1 Kansas Farmer renews collaboration between the Spencer Museum of Art and advanced University of Kansas graphic design students enrolled in a course taught by Professor Patrick Dooley. These posters—as well as the Spencer’s related Dust exhibition — are inspired by the selection of Timothy Egan’s The Worst Hard Time as KU’s 2013-14 Common Book.