The Grassroots Art Capital of Lucas, Kansas needed a proper way to greet tourists, and so the World’s Largest Souvenir Travel Plate was born. Located on Highway 18, this plate greets visitors to Lucas and provides a painted history of this quirky rural community.
The travel plate was the brainchild of Erika Nelson, a local artist and the proprietor of the World’s Largest Collection of the World’s Smallest Versions of the World’s Largest Things. She believed that Lucas needed a World’s Largest Thing of its own. She set about making a travel plate from two satellite dishes, including a decommissioned 14-foot satellite dish donated by the local telephone company. After two months of painting, with support from the Grassroots Art Center and the City of Lucas, the plate was completed on November 8, 2006. A 2015 hailstorm damaged the structure, but it was repainted and refurbished in 2018.
As with most souvenir plates, the World’s Largest Travel Plate tells the story of the town and is displayed on a highway. The plate detailing includes a homage to the many outsider artists who have called Lucas home over the years, including one of the oldest preserved grassroots works, S.P. Dinsmoor’s Garden of Eden. The painting includes features that make people proud to call Lucas home, such as the farms, local businesses, and scenic natural features such as the nearby Wilson Lake. Finally, the plate honors the immigrants who built the community and the Indigenous peoples who first settled the area and created the region’s earliest folk art.
Know Before You Go
The World’s Largest Souvenir Travel Plate is free and open to the public. Visitors looking for more information on the scenes depicted on the plate can check out the artist’s Handy Dandy Guide on her website. And naturally, the world’s smallest version of the World’s Largest Souvenir Travel Plate can be found elsewhere in town.