Konza Prairie LTER Featured Artist

Kelly Yarbrough (b. Plano, TX) is an artist based in Manhattan, Kansas. Her practice is rooted in an ecosystem that includes mixed media drawing, arts administration and creating meaningful opportunities for artists to engage with their environment. She enjoys unexpected collaborations, transdisciplinary conversations, and continual learning. Kelly holds an MFA from Kansas State University, and founded the Tallgrass Artist Residency (https://tallgrassartistresidency.org/) in 2016. She is the Regional Field Representative and Art & Environment specialist for the Kansas Creative Arts Industries Commission, a facilitator for Artist INC, a trained Konza Prairie docent, and a 2021TEDx Austin College speaker.

Kelly’s work is inspired by the prairie because grassland tells some incredible stories of human history and offers hope for the future in the Great Plain. She grew up in the suburbs of Dallas, Texas and had no idea what a native prairie looked like, let alone its value as an ecosystem, until she relocated to Kansas as an adult. She believes that the resilience of this ecosystem, the people that study and protect it, and the cultures that have co-evolved with prairie over the years offer lots of insight into how we might create a more equitable and sustainable future in the face of the climate crisis. She thinks it’s incredibly important to pay attention to this landscape and for all of us to become more “land literate.”

To discover more of Kelly’s work, visit her personal website at https://www.kellyyarbrough.com/.