Many Northeast Kansas artists and writers are actively engaged in seeking out and making creative responses to what they see as an extreme conservative political takeover of the state: Poets and writers are creating works that they publish nationally in order to magnify maladies experienced at home, while visual artists create iconic stencils and prints to incite outrage and visceral responses from Kansas citizens.
Leah Sewell, project leader, says: “Until now there has been no concerted effort to join the works of artists and writers into a single intercom broadcasting a unified front against the political bullying and manipulation of our beloved state. Microburst seeks to shout into that void, to elicit a response from Kansas citizenry, to generate a cacophony of conversation and to place the tools of action into the hands of the people.”
Microburst is a 32-page, two-issue publication consisting of art and creative writing. The first issue will consist of content supplied by a core group of writers and artists. The second issue will consist of writing and art by citizen response. Each issue will address the concerns of Kansans.
The publication will be 11’’ x 8.5’’, consisting of 30 pages plus an 11’’x 17’’ color centerfold poster. The cover will be color, and the first issue will be released February 2016. An action workshop led by speakers and artists will be held shortly afterward, marking the official call for artistic and written responses from the community that will be included in the second issue. This second issue will be released early summer of 2016, and all responses will be recorded on a website and shared online and through social media channels.
The publication will be distributed physically via three handmade wooden street boxes emblazoned with screen-printed art, in pre-approved locations in Lawrence, Topeka and Wichita, Kansas. They will also be distributed online as a PDF, to organizations and individuals who will be encouraged to further print and distribute.
Artistic content will contain collages, comic strips, stencil templates, sketches and print reproductions and will address social/cultural/political issues. Written content will contain essays, hip-hop lyrics, poetry, satire, word search and/or crossword puzzles. Written content will have an emphasis in first-person experience and will always contain a call-to-action.
Microburst, like the sudden storm event that its name emulates, will shake Kansas – by placing art and writing into the hands of its citizens, and by eliciting a swift and sizeable response.
The original creators of Microburst consist of the following individuals working in collaboration:
• Leah Sewell, project leader, is the communications editor of the Topeka Library, and a nationally-published poet, graphic designer and editor. She’s done graphic design and layout of over a dozen books and edited Topeka magazines for a combined 12 years.
• Justin Marable, project leader, is an artist living in Topeka. From his home print studio, he creates art about Kansas and the Midwest. For the last several years, he has developed a diverse audience through his unique process & style. Printmaking, particularly, screen printing, has become his main method of artistic expression. He is a recipient of several regional and local awards and his work has been published locally, regionally, and nationally.
• Timothy Volpert
• Dave Loewenstein
• Davis Hammet
• Chad Manspeaker
• Ashley Laird
• Nicholas Ward
• Rich Kobs
• Melissa Sewell
• Martinez Hillard