Field Trip to Picher for Young Artists




Yesterday we took two groups of high school artists on a trip to Picher, OK.  The kids are from Lincoln Prep Academy and Shawnee Mission East.  Teachers and parents helped coordinate and organize.  Group effort as always. 

Why Picher?  It’s an old mining town that is slowly dying, and one of the largest Superfund Sites in the country.  My grandpappy was a miner there, and my dad grew up there.  It was home to the largest lead deposit in the world.  At one time it was a violent mining camp with an insane homicide rate.  Now it’s polluted, the land ruined.

I wanted these kids to see this place: the tailing piles, the retired miners impoverished yet dignified, and how the mining companies abused them for decades.  Also the govt.  There’s a lot to learn from stories like that, and these kids missed none of it.  I made sure they met some of the old miners, living in shacks now.  I also made sure they took in the worn texture and shades of the town and the mines.

We’ll do a show for them in May.  All the work will be inspired by the field trip.  I expect it to be quite a show.

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