Say Hello To...
The Joplin arts and cultural community welcomed several new faces over the past year. Left to right from the top: The executive board of the Langston Hughes Cultural Society, including Melissa Swindell, Donald Clark, Nanda Nunnelly, Jerry Sparks, Jill Sullivan, Bud Morgan, Tara Clark, Louis Morgan, Floyd Hackett, Michael Rodgers, Zenith Emory, Alisha Nunnelly, and Chiquita Lemus. Studio 124 became a reality thanks to co-founders Becki Arnall and Marilyn Marshall-Bouldin. The Creative Learning Alliance hired Shelby Witzman as their Project Coordinator. And Jay Gilman took the reins of Pro Musica as their new Director. Make sure to say, “hello!”
Located on the East side of Renewed Mental Health’s building, the mural titled 161 by artist Eric Haun is meant to honor the 161 lives lost in the May 2011 tornado. This piece of public art incorporates butterflies – a symbol unofficially adopted by many artists and organizations as a sign of hope and transformation.
Location: Renewed Mental Health (719 S Main St)
Kiwanis Club's 100th Anniversary Sculpture
Since 1920, the Kiwanis Club of Joplin has served the community through a variety of projects, most of which focus on supporting local youth. In August, the Club commemorated their extensive work in the community with a 100-year anniversary and celebrated with a new sculpture installation! The piece, depicting two children reading a book together, can be found near the entrance to the Joplin Public Library in perpetuity.
Location: Joplin Public Library (1901 E 20th St)
Joplin Arts District Mural
The Joplin Arts District received a welcome new addition this fall. A colorful mural, located on Covert Electric Supply’s building, now welcomes visitors to the district while informing them what lies ahead. The whimsical scene incorporates symbolic elements representing beloved area fixtures, such as Memorial Hall and Joplin’s Sunshine Lamp District. With more planned for the future, this mural is one of many public art pieces to come.
Location: Covert Electric Supply (202 N Main St)
Rotary Sculpture Garden Additions
The Joplin Rotary Sculpture Garden in Mercy Park gained three much-anticipated additions this year. Lift Her with Butterflies, Bamboo, and Go Escargot were installed on October 15th, rounding out the park’s total number of bronze sculptures to one dozen. The larger-than-life statues were generously donated by community members at a time when finding ways to safely enjoy the arts was greatly needed.
Location: Mercy Park (3002 St Johns Blvd)
Joplin History & Mineral Museum
The Joplin History & Mineral Museum has been a long-standing facet in the Joplin community for nearly 90 years. Now, thanks to a new partnership with the City of Joplin, area residents can have confidence the museum will remain open for years to come. In September, City Council members unanimously voted to make the museum part of the Joplin Parks and Recreation department. The decision secured a stable source of funding for the museum, provided staff with new benefits, and ensured the institution’s future.
Joplin Arts Fest
Since its inception five years ago, The Kiwanis Club of Joplin has served as lead organizer of Joplin Arts Fest. The Club’s efforts developed the annual event from a small festival to a highly popular event. With the ever-expanding workload of the festival, and other philanthropic initiatives needing more TLC, the Kiwanis Club of Joplin has decided to step back from Joplin Arts Fest. As of now, Joplin Arts Fest is seeking a new, leading organization for 2021. Interested parties can visit their website or email email@example.com for more information.
Downtown Joplin Branding
With help from a Missouri Main Street Connection grant, Downtown Joplin Alliance (DJA) embarked on an intentional branding effort for the downtown area. Ben Muldrow, a community branding expert, was chosen to create a downtown identity, as well as introduce the idea of cohesive branding for marketing the entire city. Nearly 150 community members, including city leadership and representatives of community organizations met with the consultant in January to discuss and provide feedback. When all was said and done, DJA adopted an entirely updated branding kit: a new logo with many variations, a new statement and message, colors, and official typography and typeface.
Langston Hughes Cultural Society
This spring Joplin welcomed a new nonprofit, The Langston Hughes Cultural Society (LHCS). LHCS is dedicated to celebrating Joplin-born poet Langston Hughes and the indelible mark he made on American culture through his life, his work, and his legacy. LHCS strives to bring about great change in Joplin through the support and celebration of arts and culture and the African American experience. Despite being newly formed, the group has already secured grants to fund activities and operations that will promote Hughes’ work as well as his ideas of unity and racial understanding.
As soon as COVID-19 began to change life as we know it in Joplin, Connect2Culture got to work safely connecting Joplin’s arts and cultural community through "C2C Check-Ins." These casual, virtual meetings invite organizations to share updates, news, ideas, and resources with others while fostering a sense of community. C2C will continue hosting these virtual meet-ups on the second Tuesday of each month at 11:00am through June of 2021. Join us!
Historical Sword Fighting Club
Thanks to a new club on campus, Missouri Southern State University students were offered a unique opportunity to handle stage swords this fall. The Historical Sword Fighting Club covers the historical aspects, basic footwork, and fundamental techniques of sword fighting. The club meets from 3:00–5:00pm on Wednesdays and is open to all Missouri Southern students.
Wildcat Glades Friends Group’s Education Cottage
In October, Wildcat Glades Friends Group completed construction of their Education Cottage, an 864-square-foot building, which has been in the works since 2018. This new building was made possible through grants, as well as private and public donations. Having already held some inaugural classes and events, the group will continue to use the space for children’s programming, community gatherings, and more.
Joplin Empire Market Curbside
In response to COVID-19, Joplin Empire Market (JEM) transitioned to online ordering with curbside pickup in March. Customers were able to purchase goods online between Tuesdays and Thursdays, and then pick up orders on Saturdays using a drive-thru service. This kept JEM patrons and vendors safe while encouraging regular sales, throughout shelter-in-place orders and restrictions on in-person gatherings. Though JEM is open to visitors once again, online and curbside services, with their popularity and convenience, are here to stay and will continue to grow and evolve.
The Joplin Toad Print Edition
After offering eight editions of their unique publication online, The Joplin Toad passed a significant milestone in late November. The first printed issue of The Joplin Toad was offered at various locations across the city, including Zinc Coffee, Bearded Lady Roasters, Joplin Empire Market, Joplin Avenue Coffee Company, and Bookhouse Cinema. Get yours today before they’re gone!
Coloring JOMO: "Women Who Made Their Mark"
Some of Joplin’s most renowned women graced the pages of a new coloring book, thanks to several organizations and one talented artist. Coloring JOMO: Women Who Made Their Mark features 12 notable women whose influence made a lasting impact on Joplin. The book is free to download and was made possible by Post Art Library, Historic Murphysburg Preservation, Inc., Visit Joplin MO, and artist Martha Goldman.
Opera & Art
For one night only in early February, Spiva Center for the Arts and Heartland Opera Theatre (HOT) treated patrons to operatic arias among the award-winning photography of Patty Carroll. Soloists recruited by HOT performed songs that complimented Carroll’s exhibit Anonymous Women: Camouflage and Calamity, which explores the complex relationship between women and domesticity.
JEM Free Market Meals for Kids
Joplin Empire Market and Just A Taste Webb City teamed up this summer to mitigate the financial strain of local families and fight food insecurity. The two organizations instituted Free Market Meals for Kids, a program that offers free, nutritional food to children in need. Meals are ordered online and retrieved at the Joplin Empire Market on Saturdays.
C2C + Spiva: First Friday WineShare
With the help of Downtown Joplin Alliance, Connect2Culture and Spiva Center for the Arts co-hosted the second First Friday WineShare of the year in February. The two organizations not only promoted their separate work and missions, but informed guests about their future home – the Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex.
Missouri Art Now
In celebration of Missouri’s bicentennial, five organizations from across the state teamed up to create Missouri Art Now, a juried traveling exhibition featuring works from Missouri artists. Among the collaborating organizations are Joplin’s own Post Art Library and Spiva Center for the Arts. The exhibit, which aims to recognize the rich variety of arts in Missouri, will be displayed at Spiva in 2021.
Judy’s Ballroom Dance
Since 2010, Judy’s Ballroom Dance has been serving the Joplin area with classes and private lessons in ballroom dance, salsa, swing, and more. Classes have been held at Missouri Southern State University, but have been enjoyed by both students and the community-at-large. Here’s to another ten years of fun, informative classes!
Joplin Regional Artists Coalition
A decade ago, Joplin Regional Artists Coalition (JRAC) was established to provide community and promotional opportunities for local artists. In a year without exhibitions and showcases, JRAC’s continued support of artists has never been more critical. The group spotlighted members via social media posts, conducted artist interviews, and hosted three exhibits, one of which was available online.
Neosho Arts Council
The Neosho Arts Council is a nonprofit that aims to enrich Neosho and surrounding communities through the arts. Since its inception 10 years ago, the group has supported and advocated for the arts and artists in Neosho through conventions, workshops, contests, and more. The organization celebrated its anniversary in November with a one-night, online event featuring acoustic music, auctions, and tasty treats.
Cornell Complex Renderings Reveal
Connect2Culture and Spiva Center for the Arts celebrated a significant milestone on June 30th with a virtual reveal of the Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex’s new exterior renderings. Viewers who tuned in via Zoom and Facebook Live learned about the project’s current timeline, total financial commitments to date, additional naming opportunities, and more. Unexpected sneak peeks of interior renderings of the Beshore Performance Hall were also shared. This fall, the project announced surpassing $16 million in pledges, spurring excitement to reach the expanded goal of $17.5 million!
Black History Celebration
Post Art Library and Joplin Public Library commemorated this year’s Black History Month with a new program honoring notable African American figures. The Black History Celebration featured a living history presentation and interactive booths that taught guests about the extraordinary lives and enduring achievements of African Americans.
Joplin High School Virtual Art Show
When their physical art show was canceled, Joplin High School’s Art Department found a way to honor students and showcase their work safely online. The department was one of the first to utilize the website ArtSteps to host a virtual, interactive exhibit, subsequently inspiring other local organizations to do the same.
Art Recreation Challenge
It didn't take long for Spiva Center for the Arts' to challenge followers to participate in a creative online endeavor! Spiva's Art Recreation Challenge on Facebook asked fans of the art center to recreate a masterpiece with items found around the house. When all was said and done, 20+ creative entries were highlighted in an album and slideshow for all to see and enjoy.
Who said quarantine had to be boring? Thanks to the ingenuity of local arts and cultural organizations, patrons could unleash a world of creativity and fun at home. Take-home kits, like those offered by Create N Sip Studios and Firehouse Pottery, featured art projects area residents could enjoy safely and independently.
JRAC: Out of Confinement
In July, Joplin Regional Artists Coalition (JRAC) debuted their first online exhibit, Out of Confinement. The exhibition featured artwork from JRAC’s members, with each piece focusing on the pandemic, quarantine, or the transformative effects experienced by individuals emerging from isolation.
Local Color’s Online Art Auctions
Local Color Art Gallery & Studio temporarily closed its doors in March due to COVID-19. Without in-person events or regular business, Local Color artists began selling their artwork in weekly or biweekly auctions via Facebook photo albums. Potential buyers placed their bids in the comments section and the highest bidder picked up their purchases at a prearranged time. With 20 completed auctions and counting, Local Color has successfully maintained the artists’ regular customer base while reaching new audiences.
Be Local Passport Program
Many in-person events downtown had to be canceled this year, leaving local boutiques, shops, and restaurants with fewer visitors. To supplement small businesses’ lost revenue, the Downtown Joplin Alliance sold Be Local Passports from September 1st to November 15th. These booklets, full of coupons and deals, encouraged residents to continue supporting area businesses during the pandemic.
Missouri Southern State University’s theatre department, MOSO Theatre, brought the beloved classic Mamma Mia! to Joplin in February at Joplin High School Performing Arts Center. Complete with musical accompaniment, colorful costumes, a talented cast, and the catchy songs of ABBA, the musical was a hit!
The Choir of Man
On March 10th, Connect2Culture’s 2019-2020 Curtains Up Series transformed Joplin’s Memorial Hall into an Irish pub with their series finale. An uplifting, high-energy performance set in a working on-stage pub, The Choir of Man dazzled audience members with pub tunes, folk songs, Broadway hits, and more. The cast of nine UK natives sang, danced, and even invited guests to have a pint of beer from Indian Springs Brewing Company onstage with them. Cheers!
Joplin Little Theatre
Joplin Little Theatre’s production of the comedy Enter Laughing was originally slated to debut in late March but was postponed due to COVID-19. The show, however, had to go on (of course!). During a months-long wait, the cast rehearsed together via Zoom. When Joplin Little Theatre reopened in July, it safely welcomed guests back with the long-awaited performance, bringing audiences some much-needed joy.
Jack Broadbent + Ben Miller
The Coda Concert House
The Coda Concert House has held a reputation for combining international talent with beloved, local artists to create unique performances. In early March, the concert venue did just that during Jack Broadbent and Ben Miller’s house concert. Together, the British guitarist and the lead vocalist of the Ben Miller Band performed an intimate, yet unforgettable performance for appreciative fans.
"Mayhem in Mayville" Interactive Murder Mystery
Dream Theatre Co.
In late March, as other theatres across the nation were shutting down due to COVID-19, Studio 124 was gearing up for their next performance. The actors of Dream Theatre Co. used their space for a production of Mayhem in Mayville, a murder mystery livestreamed to Facebook for viewers to enjoy at home.
Puccini Double Bill
Heartland Opera Theatre
A little bit of tragedy, a little bit of comedy – all opera. Heartland Opera Theatre’s Puccini Double Bill included two one-acts from Giacomo Puccini’s Suor Angelica and Gianni Schicchi. The nonprofit’s groundbreaking production at Joplin Memorial Hall in early March was a crowd-pleaser and included projected scenery, powerful singers, and some of opera’s most popular arias.
Overtures of Hope
This year, Pro Musica sought to bring light and encouragement to organizations who selflessly serve the Joplin community – even during a pandemic. The nonprofit launched Overtures of Hope as a part of its 41st season. This initiative brings classical music to healthcare workers and service organizations in Joplin. The program’s first concerts were performed by Kansas City’s Opus 76 Quartet at Mercy Hospital and Lafayette House.
Karen's Dance Studio
For the students and instructors of Karen’s Dance Studio (KDS), flexibility both on-and-off the dance floor is essential, especially in a year like 2020. With their annual spring recital postponed, KDS dancers continued to practice and hone their craft via Zoom. Then, in June, the students came together for the first time in months, pulling their individual practice into one cohesive and stunning performance at King Jack Park in Webb City.
Missouri's Historic Places In Peril
The Olivia Apartments
Missouri’s Historic Places in Peril program calls attention to endangered statewide historic resources threatened by deterioration, lack of maintenance, insufficient funds, imminent demolition, and/or inappropriate development. This year, Post Art Library nominated Joplin’s Olivia Apartments and it made the list! The Olivia Apartments was built in 1906 and often referred to as the “handsomest apartment house in the west.” One hundred years later, The Olivia was deemed unsafe by the City of Joplin, leading to issues caused by vacancy and neglect despite steady interest in redevelopment by outside parties. Unfortunately, on December 7th, shortly after The Olivia’s Places in Peril nomination, the building’s roof and 5th floor caught fire. Downtown Joplin Alliance immediately brought in a structural engineer, who reported that the essential structure and integrity of the building was not compromised. This assessment gives local preservationists hope that The Olivia will remain an integral part of the Joplin community.
Becki Arnall | Clifford Wert | Linda Teeter
Each year, the local lifestyles magazine, J MAG, honors “Pathfinders” – community members who have achieved remarkable feats and “made it possible for others to follow in their footsteps.” Representatives of Joplin’s arts and cultural community made up three of the 11 star-studded lineup: Becki Arnall, Founder of Dream Theatre Co. and Co-Founder of Studio 124; Clifford Wert, President & CFO of Connect2Culture, as well as Treasurer of the future Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex; Linda Teeter, Owner of Urban Art Gallery, Coordinator of First Thursday ArtWalk, and President of Joplin Arts District. Thank you all for your hard work and dedication!
Collections Assessment for Preservation Program
Missouri Southern State University
Missouri Southern State University’s Spiva Art Gallery has been selected as one of 75 institutions in the United States to participate in the Collections Assessment for Preservation (CAP) program in 2020. The program will focus on the gallery’s African art collection, which includes more than 300 pieces of art and artifacts donated by John and Pam Finley in 1997, and others. The CAP program, which is supported by the Foundation for Advancement in Conservation and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, provides an assessment report with prioritized recommendations to improve the collection's care. The final assessment report will help the gallery prioritize its collection care efforts in the coming years.
Rotarian of the Year
Bob Headlee, longtime Rotarian and Chair of the Joplin Rotary Sculpture Garden, was named the 2019-2020 Rotarian of the Year. This award honors Rotarians who have clearly stood out in demonstrating “Service Above Self,” as well as someone who has gone above and beyond in serving the community. Headlee has served Rotary for 23 years and has most recently spearheaded the new Joplin Rotary Sculpture Garden established in October 2019 at Mercy Park.
National Association of Schools of Music
Missouri Southern State University's Department of Music
Congratulations are in order for Missouri Southern State University’s Music Department, which was granted associate membership with the National Association of Schools of Music (NASM) in November! The association, founded in 1924, sets national standards for undergraduate and graduate degrees as well as other credentials, and provides assistance to institutions and individuals engaged in artistic, scholarly, educational and other music-related endeavors. "To be recognized as a music program that meets national standards in the arts is something to brag about.” – Dr. David Sharlow, Interim Department Chair.
Missouri Citizens for the Arts Board of Directors
Connect2Culture Director, Emily Frankoski, was named a board member of Missouri Citizens for the Arts (MCA) in early January. Emily served as Southwest Missouri Regional Vice President for her first year and was elected to join the Executive Committee as Secretary shortly after her appointment. MCA is a non-partisan, state-wide, grass roots organization that advocates to secure stable financial support for the arts in Missouri. In addition, MCA provides information about the impact of the arts in Missouri and promotes the inclusion of arts education in Missouri schools. To learn more about MCA visit mo4arts.org.
2020 Jeff & Carolina Neal Award
Corner Greer Architects
The Joplin Historic Preservation Commission presented the 2020 Jeff & Carolina Neal Award to Corner Greer Architects in July. This annual award (est. 2019) honors those who have made significant contributions to historic preservation in Joplin by way of developing and restoring/revitalizing buildings and properties within Joplin’s commercial corridors. CGA has been committed to improving and preserving Joplin’s downtown for many years through a variety of projects.
Historic Preservation Month
Each May, communities across the nation celebrate Historic Preservation Month to support the preservation of historically significant places. Local organizations – like the Joplin Historic Preservation Commission (JHPC) and Post Art Library – normally host events, exhibits, and ceremonies to participate in this month-long celebration. Additionally, the Joplin Preservation Awards are usually distributed by JHPC to celebrate and recognize the extraordinary efforts of individuals and groups who made significant contributions to historic preservation in Joplin. Due to ongoing concerns about COVID-19, JHPC postponed the 2020 public awards presentation until the 2021 awards celebration.
National Poetry Month
National Poetry Month is a global, literary celebration emphasizing the importance of poetry in our culture and lives. Every April, Connect2Culture, Pub Hound Press, and Post Art Library, along with several other partnering organizations, organize an intentional effort to celebrate through open-mic poetry night, poetry readings, Poem in Your Pocket Day, and more. Though in-person celebrations were not possible, plenty of poetry was shared via social media pages! Plans are in the works for the 2021 celebration.
National Arts & Humanities Month
National Arts & Humanities Month (NAHM) acknowledges and celebrates the arts and the vital role they play in our nation. The annual celebration encourages Americans to explore new facets of the arts and humanities and actively participate. In lieu of the normal celebration, Joplin arts and cultural representatives were invited to accept the NAHM proclamation together during Joplin City Council’s October 5th meeting. Instead of printing physical copies of Joplin’s Arts & Cultural Calendar and distributing them, Connect2Culture put those dollars to good use providing additional social media marketing efforts for arts, culture, and entertainment happenings throughout the month.
Watch the Fifth Annual Joplin Arts & Cultural Preview via C2C's YouTube! Complete with timestamps to help you navigate to your favorite organizations.
Watch one of our C2C At A Distance videos and make sure to take a look at the entire playlist, including 10+ updates from local organizations.