Erika Nelson is an independent artist and educator, exploring visionary art environments and the fringes of American culture. When not crisscrossing the country in search of vernacular architecture or immersive art sites, she writes articles for art and travel magazines, creates site-specific temporary art experiences, and acts as a creative catalyst for rural communities. As the creator of the World’s Largest Collection of the World’s Smallest Versions of the World’s Largest Things, an ongoing project researching, documenting, and creating mobile exhibits featuring miniatures of monumental vernacular structures billed as a “World’s Largest,” Erika celebrates unique visions, shares community stories, and encourages people to reignite their sense of wonder. Ms Nelson came to this exploration after selling her possessions and setting off to travel the country, visiting small arts communities thriving in the midst of traditionally ag-based communities, examining the relationships that develop. Her formal work involves historic data collection and material research, resulting in articles, essays, and lectures focused on the production and preservation of the built environments. These parallel explorations inform her preservation work in a niche market: Self-taught visionary art. Often incorporating nontraditional materials and techniques, the challenges of cataloguing, evaluating, repairing, conserving, and restoring these in-situ environments are left to small teams of dedicated individuals. Based in Lucas, Kansas, she has most recently been found on-site in rural Georgia as part of a folk art preservation team. Ever elusive, additional sightings have been reported in Minnesota, Idaho, South Dakota, Wyoming, and her adopted home state of Kansas.
Erika's ArtPrize Entries
These are Erika's official ArtPrize entries from this year and past years.
Erika's Past Work
These are images of past work that Erika has done.