Joplin Arts News (June 27–July 3)

East Town Mural Project

East Town Mural Project

We are so excited for the second community-based mural project in Joplin, MO! The first took place in 2011 at 15th & Main Streets. Five years later…Joplin is ready for another! The East Town Mural Project is a public mural project engaging the East Town neighborhood to develop and create a public mural that communicates the history, culture, and aspirations of those residents. The project will take place between July and September 2016. 

This intergenerational and cross-cultural project provides an opportunity for participants to learn about the mural making process, offer input and ideas for inclusion in the mural, and experience the design and execution of a highly visible public artwork in an historic neighborhood.

Joplin East Town MapJoplin’s first settlement, East Town, dates to 1838. In 1873, the working-class East Town merged with Murphysburg, its sister city to the west, where landowners and financiers built huge homes. We now know it as Joplin. East Town is primarily residential, bisected by Broadway, a central cultural corridor and a part of Route 66. Ewert Park holds special significance as the community’s cultural center, as it has been the site of annual celebrations of the Emancipation Proclamation since the 1920s that attract visitors, vendors, and musicians from across the region. One of Joplin’s most famous citizens, Langston Hughes, was born in East Town and in his honor Broadway is signed “Langston Hughes Blvd.”

Many East Town residents express fond memories of days spent at the Boys and Girls Club, which has offered safe, healthy, and educational after-school and summer activities for students since its founding more than 50 years ago. This highlights a key theme in the neighborhood: many families have lived there for a number of generations, and even residents who no longer live in the area care deeply about its future. Recent meetings have begun to reveal residents’ vision for their neighborhood.

Under the auspices of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce (JACC) Cultural Affairs Committee, Artist in Residence Kyle McKenzie and Mural Assistant Devon Estes will guide creation of a meaningful and high quality mural. McKenzie will lead a series of community meetings, outreach presentations and hands-on workshops and direct a design team of individuals who choose to be more highly involved in the creation and finalization of the vision for the mural. Hands-on workshops and design sessions will help the design team develop a theme, gather and create raw material for the mural, and translate this research into a storyline of the community’s past, present and future. Josie Mai, Executive Director of George A. Spiva Center for the Arts, serves as Education Coordinator and Evaluator for the project.

Stakeholder organizations supporting this project include: The Emancipation Day Committee, local businesses, Crosslines Ministries, Connect2Culture, Boys & Girls Club, Spiva Center for the Arts, Freeman Health System, and the City of Joplin, which has designated Community Development Block Grant funds over the next three to five years for infrastructure improvements to East Town.

The wall for this mural is still being decided – we’ll let you know when the neighborhood decides! For more information and event dates for the East Town Mural Project, check their official Facebook page: Interested in giving your input? We suggest you attend the first (of three) Community Meeting on Saturday, July 9, 5pm at Crosslines Ministries (320 S School Ave). The East Town Mural Project is supported through a grant from the Missouri Arts Council. If you would like to provide additional funding for this mural project, please contact Sharon Beshore, Project Manager. Phone: 417-427-1772. Email:  

New Indoor Art Fair at Northpark Mall

Indoor Art Fair at Northpark Mall

In celebration of National Arts & Humanities Month (October) in Joplin, MO, Northpark Mall will host it’s first annual Indoor Art Fair in cooperation with Joplin Regional Artists Coalition (JRAC). The Art Fair will take place over three days in October – Fri, October 14–Sun, October 16. Are you an artist interested in participating? Registration is now open! Read on…

Booth Information: Space is limited and will be assigned on a first come, first served basis. Artist must supply their own 10’x10′ Pop-Up Tent for this event. White tents are preferred for visual continuity. Sharing tent space is permitted, but each artist must apply individually. The Pop-Up Tent locations will be spread throughout the mall.

Booth Fee: $75 per tent space for all three days. There is a $25 deposit required with your application. Deposit is non-refundable, except to those who were not selected to participate. There will be no sales commission to the mall. However, 10% of artists sales will benefit JRAC. This event aims to raise funds for the local arts community and this year JRAC has been chosen. All artists will be asked to keep track of sales on a form that will be provided.

Click here to apply. The application deadline is August 26, 2016. Accepted artists will be notified on August 30, 2016. Final payment is due no later than September 30, 2016. 

73rd Annual Carver Day Celebration

George Washington Carver National Monument is pleased to announce the park’s annual Carver Day celebration to be held on Saturday, July 9, 2016 from 10am–3pm. The public is cordially invited to attend the 73rd Carver Day anniversary to commemorate the life of George Washington Carver and the establishment of the national monument in his honor. The event is free of charge. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service so this year’s event will be a very special one!

CD 2016 FlyerSpecial speakers this year include Audrey Peterman, author of Our True Nature, Finding a Zest for Life in the National Park System and Legacy of the Land: A Black Couple Discovers Our National Inheritance and Tells Why Every American Should Care and Toby Warren, author of My Dear Boy, Jack. The latter is an inspirational story of Carver’s friendship with a young child with polio.

Bright Star Theatre will entertain visitors with a production of Lift Every Voice, The Black Experience in the Heartland. This play celebrates the National Park Service Centennial and African American history in the Midwest, and has received great reviews as it has traveled through the region being performed at 20 different cities. In addition, performing will be the Roz Gospel Trio from Kansas City; gospel singing group, Sensational Wonders; area choirs; Memphis gospel blues singer and guitarist, Reverend John Wilkins.

Activities are scheduled throughout the day, including storytelling, exhibitors, musical performances, guided tours, educational programs, children’s activities, Junior Ranger station, and much more. The Diamond Lions Club will provide a food concession.

In the National Park Service, A Call to Action Strategic Plan charts a path toward the 2016 centennial. One action concept, “History Lesson,” showcases the meaning of parks to new audiences and provides an opportunity for communities to learn more about their heritage. In response, Carver Day celebrates the African American experience through guest speakers, storytelling, music, and educational programs.

Please call the park at 417-325-4151 between 9am–5pm for further information. Visit their website at and Facebook event page. Carver Day is co-sponsored by the Carver Birthplace Association, with support from the National Park Foundation’s African American Experience Fund. George Washington Carver National Monument preserves the birthplace and childhood home of George Washington Carver. The park is located two miles west of Diamond, Missouri, on Highway V, then south ¼ mile on Carver Road. 

Joplin Little Theatre to Host Todd Oliver & Friends


Have you ever met a talking dog, a real talking dog?

Get ready because when comedian and ventriloquist Todd Oliver takes the stage you’ll meet his two funny companions – Irving and Lucy. These little dogs are making crowds across the country howl for more. When they get behind the microphone they turn everyday K-9 experiences into knockout comedy.

Joplin Little Theatre is proud to host Todd Oliver and Friends July 8th and 9th at 7pm. Todd and his friends create a “magical family chemistry”, guaranteed to entertain all ages. He has appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Late Show with Dave Letterman, where he was chosen as one of the top five ventriloquists in the nation to appear on Letterman’s “Ventriloquist Week”!

Tickets for Todd Oliver and Friends are $30 for general admission, and $18 for children 12 and under.

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