Arts News (Sept. 15–21)


Lost Bird Project 1Did you know that September 1st marked the 100th anniversary of the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon? Gone and nearly forgotten, birds like the Passenger Pigeon have left a hole in the American landscape of our collective memory. Moved by their stories, sculptor Todd McGrain set out to bring their vanished forms back into the world by permanently placing his elegant, evocative bronze memorials at the location of each bird’s demise. The film tells the story of how these birds came to meet their fates and the journey that leads McGrain from the swamps of Florida, the final roosting ground of the Carolina Parakeet, to a tiny island off the coast of Newfoundland, where some of the last Great Auks made their nests and where the local townspeople still mourn their absence 150 years later. “The Lost Bird Project” is a film about public art, extinction and memory.

“The Lost Bird Project” Film Screening will take place on Tuesday, September 16 from 7–8:30pm at Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center. 

In addition to the film screening, view a temporary exhibit about the Passenger Pigeon, make your own origami Passenger Pigeon to take home or add to their “flock” in the exhibit, and learn about the decline of the Greater Prairie Chicken in Missouri and what you can do to help them before it’s too late! Recommended minimum age: 12. Free and open to the public.

To learn more about the film, please visit



After two years of painting, the Downtown Gateway Mural is ready to take its place in Joplin’s vibrant public art scene (and the Joplin Public Art Directory!). This mural is a collaboration between the Missouri Southern State University’s Art Department and the Downtown Joplin Alliance. For the past couple of weekends, they have held community paint days, asking the public to come make their mark on the mural. They were eager to get the mural completed in time for September’s Third Thursday since MSSU is the presenting sponsor. And it looks like they will just be able to pull that off!

Let’s celebrate! Join Downtown Joplin Alliance and MSSU for the dedication of the Downtown Gateway Mural at Main & B Streets this Thursday, September 18 at 4:30pm (right before Third Thursday!). After, maybe grab a bite to eat Downtown and stick around for the Third Thursday festivities!

Downtown Gateway Mural Progress

Photos were taken midday Saturday, September 13, 2014.

This mural is made possible by MSSU, Downtown Joplin Alliance, Covert Electric Supplies, Four States Trucking, Neal Group Construction, Meek’s Hardware, and the Patton family.



Baby in Clay at Phoenix Fired Art

Photo Courtesy Phoenix Fired Art

Last week, Phoenix Fired Art distributed $1,000 worth of scholarships for their upcoming session five classes!

“They will make such a difference in the lives of each of the recipients. Are YOU in a position to help a poor starving artist or a single mom getting some creative time to herself or a senior on a fixed income who benefits from the social aspects of class as much as the creative ones? Would you like to provide some of our smaller school districts with clay or glaze or a field trip to Phoenix? You can donate funds for things like this through the JACCF (Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce Foundation) and receive a tax deductible receipt. You get a real bang for your buck because in addition to changing the life of the recipient, you also support Phoenix by helping fill our classes and our mission to bring a state of the art clay facility that is accessible to all.” – Heather Grills, Owner and Executive Director

To obtain a scholarship, you must be nominated by a Phoenix Member. Have someone you would like to nominate for the next round of scholarships? Please contact Heather Grills at (417) 483-0002 for more information.




George A. Spiva Center for the Arts will get the rare opportunity to exhibit the work of a historic artist of world renown in September through early November when it presents Norman Rockwell: 323 Saturday Evening Post Covers in the Main Gallery. The magazine covers that made Rockwell a household name will be exhibited from September 20 through November 8. The exhibition is part of a national traveling exhibit that included a stop at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Bentonville, Ark., last year. This will be one of the rare occasions when Spiva charges an exhibit admission, although a series of Free Fridays will be offered. Admission will be $5 for the general public, and $3 for members, seniors, and students with IDs. Children under 12 will be admitted for free. Free Fridays, when the gallery will be open from noon to 7 p.m., are Sept. 26 and Oct. 3, 17 and 24.

Two related events, a lecture with musical performance and recreations of Rockwell magazine covers, are scheduled during the exhibit:

1. “Idealizing America: Norman Rockwell and Irving Berlin,” will be presented at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 10, in the Main Gallery. The event combines a lecture and live musical performances to explore how the art of Rockwell and the music of Berlin related to American issues. Berlin’s music will be performed by local voice and piano duo Rebecca Luebber Ensor and Robert Ensor with commentary by Michael Lasser, a New York author and broadcaster. Tickets for the event are $10 general admission and $7 for members.

ROCKWELL POST2. The public will have the opportunity to create living pictures of Rockwell’s magazine covers during photo shoots at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 21, in the Main Gallery. Participants may select any exhibit piece to recreate, interpreting the illustration through any context desired, as long as the essential action and poses are the same. Props and costumes must be provided by the participants. All entries will be printed and professionally displayed at Spiva and patrons will vote for their favorite. The winner will receive a Norman Rockwell merchandise package. The cost to participate is $25 per team.

Regarded as America’s best-known contemporary illustrator, Rockwell (1894-1978) was considered a keen observer of human nature and a gifted storyteller. His Saturday Evening Post cover illustrations were wholesome depictions of everyday scenarios in American culture, covering more than four decades. Rockwell began his tenure with the Post in 1916 and later illustrated covers for other magazines, including Look, Life, and Boy’s Life. He also illustrated more than 40 books, including Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn. During the course of his career, he was commissioned to paint portraits of Presidents Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon, as well as those of foreign leaders. During World War II, Rockwell painted the Four Freedoms series, based on what President Roosevelt had declared to be universal rights: Freedom from Want, Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Worship, and Freedom from Fear. The Saturday Evening Post published the paintings in 1943. He also illustrated World War II war bonds for the U.S. Department of Treasury. Rockwell’s works became so valuable that the record price for one, Saying Grace, reached $46 million in 2013. His major works include No Swimming, Santa with Elves, Doctor and Doll, Rosie the Riveter, Young Lady with the Shiner, and The Problem We All Live With. Some of these illustrations will be included in the Spiva exhibit.

Norman Rockwell: 323 Saturday Evening Post Covers is sponsored by Sharon & Lance Beshore and Family with additional financial support from the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau and Missouri Arts Council, a state agency. The exhibition was organized by the Norman Rockwell Museum, Stockbridge, Mass.




In October of 2013, it was officially proclaimed National Arts & Humanities Month in Joplin, MO. Public interest in the arts as well as the number of arts-related organizations and businesses in Joplin continues to grow – and we couldn’t be happier! These organizations have had substantial impact both within the city and the region. The arts and humanities positively impact quality of life, attract visitors, and enhance both cultural and economic growth.

October 2014 is almost here and we are ready as ever to celebrate our arts community! We will be collecting information about all arts activity during this month for a print handout/flyer. If you already have your events on the Joplin Community Arts Calendar, we will collect it from that source. If you have not submitted your info to the arts calendar, you can click here to do so or email Emily at All information must be submitted by September 21, 2014.

National Arts & Humanities Month (NAHM) is a coast-to-coast collective recognition of the importance of culture in America. It is designed to encourage all Americans to explore new facets of the arts and humanities in their lives, and to begin a lifelong habit of active participation in the arts.

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