Kansas People's History Project



The Kansas People’s History Project Portfolio

As part of the Kansas People’s History Project, lead artist Dave Loewenstein and printmaker Justin Marable worked with a selection of KPHP poster makers to translate their works into limited edition screen-prints. The thirteen prints are collected in a portfolio, beautifully designed by Marable, that includes a hand printed box and colophon page listing all of the artists. You can see the portfolio as part of the exhibition Hidden Forces showing now through July 17 at the Watkins Museum of History.



Josh MacPhee asks,”Are things the same as they ever were?”

Many thanks to all the folks who  came out for the opening of Hidden Forces: The Kansas People’s History Project on Friday. It was a great night. Special thanks to guest Josh MacPhee who spoke to an overflowing gallery of visitors about the origin of the Celebrate People’s History Project (the inspiration for our Kansas project).


MacPhee talked about a common cultural affliction – a gnawing belief among many that change just isn’t possible. We take for granted, he said, that the conditions we live with today have always been and always will be. But if we can recall that things aren’t the same as they ever were, that many struggles for human and environmental rights were won throughout history by everyday people working together, then maybe we can imagine ourselves into fighting for change today. This realization, MacPhee said, was the genesis of the Celebrate People’s History project, beginning with one poster in Chicago.


MacPhee said that when he began wheatpasting the Malcom X poster on the southwest side of the city, passersby and neighbors approached him asking if they could have posters for their homes and businesses. He realized then that their was great potential in this simple straightforward kind of communication, a poster project that subverted the oppressive environment of advertising, in favor of one that shared knowledge, connection and a sense of possibility.

Kansas People’s History at Pittsburg State


It was a thrill to go down to Pittsburg State this week to give the keynote address for this semester’s Idea Series, and to see the first exhibition to come out of the Kansas People’s History Project. Students in professor Emi Gennis’s typography class worked all semester on poster designs which were displayed along side research material and preliminary sketches. My old friend, professor Josie Mai, curated the show which runs through April 9th.




The first KPHP posters + deadline extended

The Kansas People’s History Project is beginning to show fruit!  We’ve posted the first 20+ finished posters on our website in the Poster Gallery.

And for all you procrastinators out there…we have extended the deadline to submit posters. You now have until Sunday, February 21st to email them to us at – 

by Ashley Tyson


The Kansas People’s History Project

Kansas has remarkable stories, but many of them are not widely known or taught in our schools. The Kansas People’s History Project (KPHP) will begin to address this gap by making history present and visible in our everyday lives. Inspired by Howard Zinn’s groundbreaking book “A People’s History of United States” which examined history “from the bottom up,” the KPHP will focus on the creation of a series of screen printed broadsides with text narratives, a comprehensive website, and an exhibition that shine a light on lesser known but greatly influential figures and events from Kansas’s past.

The Watkins Museum of History in partnership with five arts-based and educational organizations from across the state (Pittsburg State University, La Casa de la Semilla in Wichita, Bethel College in Newton, Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, and the Salina Arts Center), will collaborate with lead artist Dave Loewenstein, printmaker Justin Marable and artists from across the state to unearth these lost or underrepresented subjects.

From the many Tribal nations that have called (and continue to call) this place home to the stories of Suffragettes, outsider artists, Civil Rights activists and countless others who have helped shape the story of Kansas, this project will celebrate the integral role these often overlooked groups have had in the making of Kansas history.

 Workshops in August

To kick-off the project, Loewenstein will be touring the state August 23-29 leading people’s history workshops for those interested in participating. Scheduled sites include, Salina, Wichita, Newton, Pittsburg, and Lawrence with more to be added soon. To find out more, contact Dave Loewenstein at

This project is supported by generous grants from the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission and the Mid-America Arts Alliance Artistic Innovations program.


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