Project will be in collaboration with Smithsonian Institution exhibit traveling in Kansas.
On many summer evenings, little kids are at Pratt’s ball fields, learning to bat and catch and slide, play together and compete fairly. Their parents are there. Some of them are coaching. Older teens are umpiring or keeping score. Businesses are paying some of the expenses. Somebody is organizing the whole show.
The story is repeated all across America, and is being told in a “Hometown Teams” Smithsonian Institution traveling exhibition that will tour Kansas in 2015.
The exhibit won’t be seen in Pratt — the closest location is the Kiowa County Historical Museum in Greensburg, from May 9 through June 21, 2015 — but the Vernon Filley Art Museum has been named as a partner site and has received a $1,500 Kansas Humanities Council grant to develop a collaborative exhibit.
The Pratt Recreation Commission, which organizes the program, plays a role in strengthening community development, Brittany Novotny, associate director for the museum, said.
“The Pratt Recreation Leagues have become a key example of what represents community pride, support and participation to Pratt residents,” she wrote in the grant application, noting the participation of more than 1,000 youth and 400 adults.
Museum Executive Director Stan Reimer is a notable photographer, but he won’t be taking the pictures for the exhibit.
The exhibit will feature the photography of adult and youth students in an art class beginning in fall 2014. They will be embedded photographers — Novotny likes the term “guerilla photographers” — paired with Rec league teams. They’ll aim their cameras not only at the players, but also at the parents, coaches, concession sellers — everyone who exemplifies the community’s participation.
At the end of the course, a promotional video will be produced for the exhibit.
The Pratt Public Library has expressed an interest in collaborating in an event, Novotny said. Plans are also being made to involve the Pratt County Historical Museum, for the historical context of Pratt teams.
“It will be a combined effort of entities to showcase history through art, especially focusing on sports,” Reimer said.
He also predicted a positive relationship between all four of Pratt’s museums: the historical museum, Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism Education Center, the B-29 All Veterans Memorial Complex and the Filley Art Museum.