A gift totaling $5,000 in support of the Joplin Arts & Entertainment Center in downtown Joplin was announced Wednesday, December 27, 11:30 a.m. at George A. Spiva Center for the Arts (222 West 3rd St, Joplin, MO 64801). This generous gift was given by David E. Martin of Overland Park, Kansas.

In reference to his gift, Mr. Martin said, “The Arts are an important measure of a community’s vitality. I am fortunate to contribute towards this endeavor. The Arts and Entertainment Center will be a centerpiece for everyone in Joplin and the surrounding Four-States Region. I hope this gift encourages others to offer their support.” Mr. Martin served seven years on the Board of Directors for George A. Spiva Center for the Arts. Now retired, he was Director of Solar & Wind Energy, University of Kansas; Director of Government of Public Affairs, Kansas City Power and Light; and Director of Governmental Affairs, Empire District Electric Company, Joplin, Missouri. Mr. Martin worked 34 years in the energy industry, with eight years in solar and wind energy and 26 years in the electric utility business.

Erin Slifka, Cleo Copeland, Sharon Beshore, Josie Mai, David E. Martin, Jo Mueller, Clifford Wert, and Emily Frankoski

“We are so appreciative of this contribution from Mr. Martin,” said Clifford Wert, President and CFO, Connect2Culture. “Every dollar amount is so important in helping us to ultimately construct this new facility in the heart of Downtown Joplin. No doubt others will indeed be encouraged by this gift to join in!”

“David is a longtime friend of Spiva,” added Josie Mai, Executive Director, George A. Spiva Center for the Arts. “He collects, views, and appreciates art as a way of life. Spiva is thrilled with the news of his donation, and we feel it is very fitting; he puts his money where his mouth and heart is.

This contribution marks the second gift announced jointly by Connect2Culture and George A. Spiva Center for the Arts for funding of the proposed $14 – $16 million Joplin Arts & Entertainment Center. The lead gift of $5 million, given by Harry M. Cornell, Jr., was announced December 14, 2017.

Plans for the Center include a multi-functional 500-seat performing arts venue that presents varied opportunities for usage, an expanded home for George A. Spiva Center for the Arts, and an 1,800 – 2,000 capacity outdoor amphitheater/festival plaza to be located in the present parking lot in front of Memorial Hall. Connect2Culture will operate the 500-seat venue and the festival plaza, while George A. Spiva Center for the Arts will manage and control their venue.

To discuss gifts to the project and naming opportunities, interested donors can contact Clifford Wert, (417) 439-0385 or Sharon Beshore, (417) 437-1772.

Connect2Culture (C2C) is unlike any organization in the Joplin area – respected community arts agency, leader of the Joplin Arts & Entertainment Center initiative, and performing arts presenter. C2C is a not-for-profit arts organization founded in 2009 to enhance community through culture. C2C continues to grow audiences and develop resources that strengthen the arts, culture, and entertainment in the City. C2C strives to “ignite a passion for the arts, culture, and entertainment.”