March marks the return of First and Third Thursday events! All members of the public are invited to enjoy these monthly celebrations of art, culture, and music in Joplin’s historic downtown district. First Thursday ArtWalk begins March 1st from 5:30pm to 8:30pm. Come walk the art – and buy some, too! Dozens of local artists of all kinds bring their work to pop-up galleries on Main Street. Events include an art trivia game, played every 20 minutes in the main gallery of Spiva Center for the Arts (222 W 3rd St), and “$10 quick portraits of you or your dog,” by local artist Sandra Conrad at Joplin Ave Coffee Company (506 S Joplin Ave). Live musical performances include Ozark Bards, Ron Erwin, Caleb Miller, Dawn Stricklen, and Chase Carman.

Third Thursday begins March 15th from 5:30 pm to 8:30 pm and features an arts and crafts Makers Market, several live musical performances, business booths, organization booths, local food vendors and restaurants, and the many shops located in the downtown district. Come experience Joplin’s downtown culture!


This year marks the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. Since it’s humble beginnings as a ghost story contest among friends, Frankenstein has imbued itself on popular culture with dozens of retellings, including such iconic films as the 1931 silver screen classic of the same name, and Mel Brooks’ 1974 comedy masterpiece Young Frankenstein (both films to be shown March 7th).

To celebrate the bicentennial, the MSSU Department of English and Philosophy, in association with Literature Lives, is hosting Frankenstein Week from March 2–8. All of the events are free and open to the public.

The week kicks off on March 2nd at 12:00 pm in the Alumni Center at MSSU with the release of Missouri Southern’s literary journal, bordertown. Alongside this event is the reveal of the Scary Story Contest prompt. Submissions are due at 3:00 pm on March 4th. The prompt will also be available online at A $100 Amazon gift card will be awarded to the grand prize winner. The categories for awards also include high school students, MSSU students, and Community/Alumni. The contest winners will be announced March 8th at the gala reception in Spiva Library at MSSU.

On March 4th, Rev. Richard Gates will present a lecture titled “Theology in Frankenstein: Incarnating Human Fragility.” The event will be held at 3:00 p.m. at Peace Lutheran Church, 3100 N. St. Louis Ave, Joplin, MO.

On March 5th, Dr. Elisa Boshero-Bondar, Associate Professor of English and Director of the Center for the Digital Text at the University of Pittsburgh-Greensbug, will give a presentation on her work producing a digital edition of the 1818, 1823, and 1831 text of Frankenstein. The event, titled “Stitching the Seams of Textual Bodies: A Bicentennial Digital Frankenstein Project,” will be held at 7:00 pm at MSSU’s Corley Auditorium.

On March 6th, an interdisciplinary panel of professors of biology, philosophy, and English will hold a discussion on the science and ethics related to Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein. The panel includes Dr. Alla Barry, Dr. Barry Brown, Dr. Donna Johnson, Dr. Vickie Roettger, and is moderated by Dr. Amy Gates. The event will be held at MSSU’s Reynolds hall, room 232 at 7:00 pm.

The Frankenstein Film Festival will be held on March 7th at Phelps Theater in Billingsley Student Center at MSSU. The festival begins at 4:30 pm where Dr. Bill Kumbier will introduce the 1931 classic film Frankenstein, and at 7:00 pm, Dr. Michael Howarth will introduce Mel Brooks’ 1974 comedy masterpiece Young Frankenstein, starring comedies legends Gene Wilder, Peter Boyle, Marty Feldman, and Madeline Kahn.

Frankenstein Week concludes with a gala reception on March 8th at MSSU. The winners of the Scary story contest will be announced and prizes awarded. There will also be a reading from several of the top contest entries. The gala will be held at 7:00 pm at the MSSU Spiva Library, Room 413.


The next Connect2Culture Arts Roundtable –“We Got Numbers, Now What?” – is coming up on Monday, March 19th from 11:30am to 1:00pm at Spiva Center for the Arts (222 W 3rd St). Over the course of 2016, Connect2Culture funded and served as local project partner on behalf of the City of Joplin in Americans for the Arts fifth economic impact study of the nation’s nonprofit arts and culture organizations and their audiences – also known as Arts & Economic Prosperity 5 (AEP5).

Through these efforts, we have learned that the nonprofit arts and culture industry in Joplin generates $5.4 million in annual economic activity in the City of Joplin, supporting 191 full-time equivalent jobs and generating $452,000 in local and state government revenues. Now that we have these valuable numbers…how can we use them to our best advantage?

More than hosting a celebration of these numbers, in this C2C Arts Roundtable you will learn the results of AEP5, as well as how to use this information wisely! Emily Frankoski, Community Arts Director of Connect2Culture, will give the low-down on Joplin’s results, while Michael Donovan, Executive Director of the Missouri Arts Council, will speak on the entire state of Missouri. Sharon Beshore, Chairman of Connect2Culture, will then explain how to use these numbers to their full potential.
Admission is free and lunch will be provided. Please register for the event by calling 417.625.6683 or email


Joplin native, Loren Long, bestselling author and illustrator, will return to Joplin on Thursday, March 8 and Friday, March 9, 2018, spending much of his time at Joplin Public Library (1901 E 20th St). His activities will include readings from his books, sharing about his journey as a professional author and illustrator with area high school students, as well as an educational luncheon for the arts community.

Loren is the author and illustrator of the New York Times bestselling picture books Otis, Otis and the Tornado, Otis and the Puppy, An Otis Christmas, Otis and the Kittens, and Otis and the Scarecrow. Loren’s heartwarming Little Tree is a picture book for all ages.

Loren Long is the #1 New York Times bestselling illustrator of President Barack Obama’s picture book Of Thee I Sing, the re-illustrated edition of Watty Piper’s The Little Engine That Could, and Madonna’s Mr. Peabody’s Apples. He is also the Golden Kite Award winning illustrator of Angela Johnson’s I Dream of Trains and the Golden Kite Honor winning illustrator of When I Heard the Learn’d Astronomer, based on the poem by Walt Whitman. Loren is also the illustrator of Margaret Wise Brown’s never-before-published picture book Good Day, Good Night, and Newbery Medal winning Matt de La Pena’s Love.

“Not only are we welcoming one of Joplin’s own back home, we are recognizing the success one of our own has achieved,” said Patrick Tuttle, Director, Joplin Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Loren was born here and has achieved renowned success as an illustrator. We can only hope that someday soon his artistic talent will have a permanent presence in Joplin.”

Long’s visit to Joplin is a collaborative effort between the Joplin Convention & Visitors Bureau, Joplin Public Library, Post Art Library, Connect2Culture, and Spiva Center for the Arts. Long’s visit is sponsored, in part, by a gracious donation from the Bramlage and Willcoxon Foundation.

“We’re very fortunate to have the opportunity for Loren Long to visit the Library and speak with area children about his books and art,” said Jacque Gage, Library Director, Joplin Public Library. “It’s not often we have a chance to bring an author/illustrator of this magnitude to Joplin. I’m excited that the Library is part of the group that made this visit possible.”

The public is invited to a book signing on Thursday, March 8, 3:30–4:30pm at Joplin Public Library. An educational luncheon, geared towards the arts community, will be held on Friday, March 9, 11:30am–1:00pm in the Community Room at Joplin Public Library. This is a free luncheon. Advanced registration required. Registration can be made at:


Joplin was well-represented at this year’s Citizens’ Day for the Arts at the Legislature – Wednesday, February 7th. This event, hosted by Missouri Citizens for the Arts (MCA), takes place annually at the Missouri State Capitol in Jefferson City, MO. Citizens’ Day is MCA’s signature event in year-round efforts to advocate for continued public funding for Missouri’s arts industry. The day includes advocacy training, legislative visits, performances, and Missouri Arts Council’s annual Missouri Arts Awards ceremony. Participants in Citizens’ Day are key to providing a strong voice of support for the arts that will ensure continued attention from the General Assembly.

Michael Donovan, Josie Mai, Senator Ron Richard, Jorge Leyva, Sharon Beshore, David Martin

The Missouri Arts Council and the State of Missouri have been honoring our state’s art heroes – the people who make the arts happen – since 1983 by establishing the Missouri Arts Awards. Individuals and organizations that have made significant contributions to the cultural and artistic climate of the state are honored at this time. Honorees are selected by an independent panel. This year, the artwork of Joplin’s very own Jorge Leyva, was selected as the signature image of the Missouri Arts Awards. His artwork was featured on the poster, invitations, and programs for the awards ceremony.

2018 Missouri Arts Awards Signature Image | The Air, oil on panel by Jorge Leyva 

Other notable Missouri Arts Awards recipients from the Joplin area:

  • John and Joy Spiva Cragin in 1995
  • Cynthia Schwab in 1999 – founder of Pro Musica
  • Missouri Southern State University International Piano Competition in 2007
  • The City of Joplin (Creative Community Award) in 2012
  • Meg Bourne (Arts Education Award) in 2014 – founder of Art Feeds
  • Jo Mueller (Leadership in the Arts) in 2016 – retired Executive Director of Spiva Center for the Arts