Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Armband from Erika Nelson

I made this black armband the weekend after I heard Gov. BB's State of the Union address.  I've worn it whenever I'm in public, including during a recent lecture about Folk Art in Kansas, celebrating 150 years of self-taught art in Kansas and the traditions our immigrant ancestors brought with them, and during the World's Smallest Mural Project on Kansas Day.  It was bittersweet, as the mural was devoted to all that I love and admire about the pioneering spirit of Kansas, but with the armband as a reminder that it IS a continual struggle, and the arts are currently in peril.  Today came the executive order to eliminate the state entity known as the Kansas Arts Commission, a move that hurts partnerships in the wider national art network, destroys opportunities for the rural folks and communities that use this funding as a tool for community improvement, and sends a message to the world at large that Kansas doesn't value it's Art, nor its Artists. 
The armband will eventually be worn to rags, but will accompany every public appearance, every daily interaction, every artist activity, as the Arts are a part of my daily life, as the Arts should be for Kansas as a whole.  - Erika Nelson, Lucas, Kansas