22 Kansas Official Travel Guide TravelKS.com He was also the rst African-American to direct a major Hollywood production, 1969s The Learn- ing Treenow in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congressand he immortalized the hip 1970s hero, Shaft, on the big screen. The center, located in the Danny and Willis Ellis Family Fine Arts Center on the campus of Fort Scott Commu- nity College, tells the creative genius compelling life story through programs and collections, em- phasizing the importance of cultural awareness and artistic creativity. Flint Hills Move westward into the Flint Hills region to visit a site known as the Jewel of the Prairie, the C. L. Hoover Opera House in Junction City. This 131-year-old structure has functioned as a theater, city ofces, re station, storage center and a movie theater before standing empty for 26 years. Its eclectic history includes being rebuilt by Eastern Wooded Hills Begin your artful explorations of Kansas along the eastern border of the state with a visit to the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in Overland Park. This striking, minimalist build- ing is perched on a gently sloping hillside on the campus of one of the countrys most highly rated community colleges, Johnson County Community College. When the Nerman opened in the fall of 2007, its architecture, permanent collection and ex- hibition programming earned widespread acclaim. Each year the Nerman presents more than a dozen exhibitions representing works by international, national and regional artists. With free admission, theres no excuse not to visit the Mulvane Art Museum in Topeka, one of the oldest art museums west of the Mississippi. Located on the campus of Washburn University, the Mulvanenamed after railroad tycoon John R. Mulvane, one of the most successful Kansans of his generationis the perfect place to be an art lover. Kids of all ages, students, adults and art acionados enjoy larger-than-life installations, traveling exhibi- tionsandapermanentcollectionofmorethan4,000 piecesthatincludespaintings,prints,sculpturesand decorative art. Learn about Gordon Parks, an internationally celebrated photographer, lmmaker, writer and musician at Fort Scotts Gordon Parks Center for Culture and Diversity. Born in 1912 and raised in Fort Scott, Parks was the rst African-American photojournalist for both Life and Vogue magazines. Stay up on all there is to see and do throughout the state. Like us on Facebook at Kansas Tourism. top: The sleek exterior of the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art above: Catch a show at the stately C. L. Hoover Opera House. Explore three centuries of American art.