Dear Great Plains aims to capture experiences of region’s residents

· 3 min read

Dear Great Plains aims to capture experiences of region’s residents

Illustration of windmill with "Dear Great Plains" in sky
Katie Nieland | Center for Great Plains Studies

As the Center for Great Plains Studies’ inaugural student storyteller in residence, Karla Hernandez Torrijos is leading a community storytelling project, Dear Great Plains, to gather and share the experiences of the region’s residents.

Hernandez Torrijos

Hernandez Torrijos, an English major at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, will spend the next few months visiting community groups and leading workshops to facilitate postcard writing from the public. People will use the postcards, designed by Katie Nieland, the center’s associate director, to reflect on their connection to the Great Plains.

“The project hopes to tell a different story of the Great Plains: more complex, more diverse and more nuanced,” Hernandez Torrijos wrote about the project. “A collective letter, the project raises questions of heritage, history and home.”

Following a collection period, the postcards will become a public art installation at the Great Plains Art Museum. Printed postcards are available at the museum, or people can access a digital version that will be copied onto a physical postcard.

Groups interested in hosting Hernandez Torrijos for a postcard-writing workshop should contact the Center for Great Plains Studies at The public is also invited to a First Friday workshop, 5 to 7 p.m. April 5 at the center, 1155 Q St.

Illustration of buildings below pink and orange sky
Katie Nieland | Center for Great Plains Studies

“There is no right or wrong way to make your postcard: paint it your favorite shade of yellow, write a grocery list for your grandmother’s chocolate chip cookies, chronicle the worst snow day of your life,” Hernandez Torrijos wrote. “We are interested in the story of the Great Plains, as told by the people who live here.”

Hernandez Torrijos is a poet and workshop facilitator who has been invited to read in venues across Nebraska, including The Bay, El Museo Latino and the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Wick Alumni Center. The recipient of the 2022-23 Irby F. Wood Prize for Poetry and the 2020-21 Vreeland Award for Poetry, her writing interrogates one’s understanding of home, displacement and the liminal space in between. She was the 2021-22 Creative in Community Resident for the LUX Center for the Arts, and her work can be found in “Preposition: An Undercurrent Anthology.”

The Student Storyteller in Residence program is funded by the Michael Farrell Fund for Student Storytelling, administered through the University of Nebraska Foundation.

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