The Fine Arts Magazine Spring 2016
Local photographer shares life from behind the lens
downtown Joplin arts revival
Encouraging music from performer to educator
02 Editorâ€™s Note Welcome to our first issue
04 Spotlight News notes from the art world 06 Educating Minds, Encouraging Music Performing artist inspires students 08 Creating a Career Photographer focuses on fine art 10 Creative Space Master plan gives shape to downtown renaissance 14 Art Feeds the Future Homegrown non-profit expands 15 Rebuilding Together Third Thursday helps revitalize historic downtown 16 Designed to Dance Midwest Regional Ballet Company opens new studio 18 Artist in Action Students collaborate to bring comic book to life 20 Gallery Roundup Explore area art galleries
Front cover photo by Levi Andrew Back cover photo by Brad Stout
14 18 15
from the editor’s desk
elcome, readers, to the inaugural issue of Vivid: The Fine Arts Magazine. Our mission is to highlight the lively arts scene in our region, bringing you features about local artists, venues, issues affecting the arts, and organizations active in promoting them. Because we’re passionate about the arts, each issue will include a first-person arts experience as well. This issue features the creation of a comic book by staff writer and photographer Terri-Lynn Frasher, who had a vision and hired an artist to help her see it through. You’ll also learn about fine art photographer Mark Neuenschwander, whose photo on our cover encapsulates our first issue’s focus on the revitalization of the arts in downtown Joplin; there is beauty all around, if you have the lens to see it through. Flip to the center section for a look at what the ongoing arts renaissance in downtown may look like as groups like the Downtown Joplin Alliance and Connect2Culture put their vision into action. And don’t forget to pull out our centerfold arts calendar. Mount it on your wall or refrigerator, or keep it in your purse or backpack so you can stay up to date on upcoming events. For more information, check our website at www.vividfinearts.com. Our website also features suggestions for day trips with an arts theme, from Crystal Bridges Museum in Fayetteville to the Nelson-Atkins in Kansas City and the Philbrook Museum in Tulsa. Because the arts are a community resource, we also want to hear from you. If you know someone whose work we should feature, if you have a first-person story to share, if you’ve got a great idea for a day trip, or if you’re involved in an event we should cover, please let us hear from you.
Olive L. Sullivan, Editor
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Meet the Staff
Photo by Levi Andrew
From left: Brad Stout, Terri-Lynn Frasher, Aaron Weatherford, Jeremy Jones, Hannah Ishmael, Morgan Reed, Olive L. Sullivan, Molly Greer, Bethany Courtney, Levi Andrew.
Vivid: The Fine Arts Magazine Missouri Southern State University Spring 2016
The mission of Vivid: The Fine Arts Magazine is to promote fine arts and entertainment events and to showcase local artists and entertainers. While uniquely produced within a learning environment, Vivid expects its staff members to exhibit the highest level of excellence and professionalism in their work and representation of the magazine.
Vivid is published two times a year by the Missouri Southern State University Department of Communication. Copies of the magazine are distributed on campus and throughout the community. Vivid is written and designed by students under the direction of the faculty editor. The views expressed do not represent the student body, faculty, staff, administration, or Missouri Southern State University. Each issue features a pull-out calendar of events. Updates and additional features can be found on our website at www.vividfinearts.com.
Olive L. Sullivan, Editor Molly Greer, Assistant Editor Bethany Courtney, Assistant Editor Levi Andrew, Director of Photography Jeremy Jones, Art Director Aaron Weatherford, Web Editor/Social Media Director Brad Stout, Lead Designer Associate Editors Terri-Lynn Frasher, Morgan Reed, Hannah Ishmael, Adelie Campbell, Elyse Quattlebaum Contributors: Lauden Baker, Heather Casteel, Jordan Comer
Contact us at 417-625-9823 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please call for information about advertising with Vivid in print or online. We appreciate your support. VIVID / spring 2016
t h g otli
The George A. Spiva Center for the Arts has selected Dr. Jacqueline K. O’Dell as the new executive director. O’Dell replaces Jo Mueller, who served in the role for almost 12 years. Mueller left some big shoes to fill. During her tenure at Spiva, she received the 2014 Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce Arty Award for leadership. In 2011, Mueller received the Spotlight Award from the Missouri Department of Tourism. In addition to these local honors, Mueller will be presented with the 2016 Leadership in the Arts award from the Missouri Arts Council in February. Mueller was also named one of the Joplin Regional Business Journal’s Most
... on Spiva’s new director Influential Women in 2010. Brandon Davis, Spiva board co-president, praised Mueller’s accomplishments in leading the arts center and serving as a spokesperson for the arts in the community. O’Dell was selected because of her expertise in education and leadership in non-profit organizations. In an announcement by the Board of Directors, Davis said, “Dr. O’Dell has the right skill sets needed to continue the forward progress made by previous directors, and the board is excited to see her help the organization continue to grow.” O’Dell called the appointment “a dream come true.”
... on downtown parking issues Not only does the Downtown Joplin Alliance host Third Thursday and other events that bring people into the area, the group has tackled an issue affecting the entire central corridor of Joplin. “This year, one thing we heard about a lot was parking,” said Callie Hudson, executive director of Downtown Joplin Alliance. “There is not a lot of permit-free parking downtown. We started working with city staff to address this.” The Joplin City Council passed resolution 2015-023 to ease parking restrictions. The new resolution took effect Jan. 1, 2016. The resolution eliminated permit parking in four city-owned lots (A, B, D, and E lots, highlighted in
VIVID / spring 2016
yellow on the map, left). Two-hour parking regulations will remain in effect on Virginia, Main, and Joplin streets from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Parking will no longer be restricted on side streets between Virginia and Joplin, according to documents presented at the city council meeting Nov. 16, 2015. The city will re-evaluate this plan every 12 months. With Third Thursday attracting thousands of community members, vendors, artists, and performers, organizers hope added parking will continue to boost attendance. “We have been working with the downtown businesses and are very glad to see this resolution come to fruition,” Hudson said.
... on the business of art There is more to art than creating beauty; there is also the business side. A seminar sponsored by Missouri Southern students in the Plaster School of Business put on an expo for the art department in November. The event brought in local professionals to guide current art students on marketing themselves and their art. Dr. John Groesbeck, dean of the school of business, welcomed students and challenged them to follow their dreams. “Let your passion run free, let it experiment. It is okay to fail,” he said. “You’re the dreamers;
it’s from you that we will see transformation in the rest of the world.” Representatives from local organizations such as: Connect2Culture, Storm Stanley Marketing Firm, Joplin Downtown Alliance, Fine Art of the Dog, and freelance artists served as mentors. Students in Dr. Nanette Philibert’s Employee Training and Development class created the art expo. Philbert, an associate professor of business, offers the class each fall and plans for the expo to be an annual event.
... on international film The Japanese film director Akira Kurosawa is widely recognized as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. His 1962 film I Live in Fear will be the highlight of the spring International Film Festival at Missouri Southern. Dr. Stephen Prince, professor of cinema studies at Virigina Tech, will present a symposium on Kurosawa March 15 before the film’s showing that evening. The film festival kicks off March 1 with the French comedy The Suitor, a 1962 film directed by Pierre Étaix. The next film, on March 29, is Hands Over the City, an Italian neorealist classic directed by Francesco Rosi. It documents the rise to power
of the crime syndicate known as the Corona, which, according to Harrison Kash, founder with his wife June of the Harrison and June Kash International Film Society, rivals the Mafia in its reach and power. Poland’s leading post-war director Andrzej Wajda created the 1960 film Innocent Sorcerers, which rounds out the spring’s film series on April 12. The free film series is supported by an endowment created in 2014 to help fund the series. Kash said costs for distribution rights have increased since the film society was founded in 1962. Those interested in contributing can contact the Missouri Southern Foundation for more information.
... on opportunities to learn It’s nice to enjoy art as a spectator, but how about getting your hands dirty? Several local arts studios offer classes in everything from painting to pottery to dance. Check out Vivid’s website at www.vividfinearts.com for
more information, or sign up for Connect2Culture’s email list for information on art happenings in the area. Find them at connect2culture.com. Be sure to read about Midwest Regional Ballet’s new studio on p. 16–17 of this issue.
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“Music is emotion, music is a story.”
MUSIC Southern alum inspires choir students through professional experiences
VIVID / spring 2016
Story by Molly Greer
ith a crazy, evil doctor suspended in the air on a wrought iron fence, the dramatic, fiery electrocution scene had finished smoothly. It was the perfect ending to a scene — at least according to the actor. Little did he know, the pyro elements of the scene had caused multiple props to catch on fire, right underneath him. The experience was one actor Jeff Thomas will remember long after that Halloween show at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Va. “Opening my eyes after you think you’ve really nailed the ‘dead’ scene, to see fire around you — I think I’ll have that
Photo courtesy of Heather Casteel
memory for a long time,” he said. Many career memories come from his performing opportunities, which he credits to his training at Missouri Southern. With a performance background in high school show choir at Pleasant Hill, Thomas chose to pursue a music education degree at Southern, where he studied under Dr. Susan Smith. “It was clear to me when I started teaching Jeff that he was a very intelligent, well educated, and talented individual,” said Smith. Thomas’ training at Southern not only gave him experience performing and teaching, it also expanded his admiration for different genres of music. “What I really got from [Smith] and
her training was that music is emotion, music is a story. Being able to study anything from musical theatre to opera was amazing because you can actually delve into music on a really deep level.” The drive to perform led Thomas to many opportunities, some including work at Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, Mo., Sea World Entertainment at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Va., and working as an entertainer with Oceania Cruises. Thomas was able to board the cruise ship after learning over 100 songs in three weeks alongside his fiancée (now his wife) Kassie (Kresse) Thomas. The two accepted positions as lead singers and saw around 40 countries in nine months. “We lived in a 10-by-10 cubicle room for nine months and we just performed, performed, performed every night, and every day we got to explore, so it was pretty amazing,” said Thomas. Part of Thomas’ excitement in performing comes from the opportunity to become a character and add something uniquely his own to each production. “There’s always the chance in music for you to interpret things differently,” Thomas said. “I think that’s what I love about it. It’s always new. Sure, you can go in and do a show 300 times in six months, which is crazy. By the end of it you’re screaming and you don’t ever
want to see those songs again. What’s great about being able to perform something 300 times is that you still have that creative freedom, in limits and boundaries of course, because it’s got to stay true to its original quality; you get to do something different every day. It’s not a desk job by any means.” Now, Thomas’ education and career have come full circle as he enjoys his first year in the classroom as a music teacher in Sullivan, Ill. “The best part is bringing my professional stage experiences into the classroom and watching my students reach higher levels of performance than they thought possible,” said Thomas. “It’s been very rewarding to see the sense of accomplishment they get when we sing together every day.” Thomas is excited to be able to share his knowledge with his students to help them succeed. “I feel strongly that teachers should have a basis for what they do in the real world,” he said. “If my students want information on how to get work in the music industry, I can give that to them now, which is really important to me and is exciting that I get to do that.”
Photos courtesy of Jeff Thomas
Top: Jeff Thomas takes on the role of an evil doctor in Dr. Freakenstein. Middle: Jeff Thomas and Kassie Thomas perform Entwined at Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Va. Bottom: Jeff Thomas poses for professional actor’s headshot. VIVID / spring 2016
from the ground up
VIVID / spring 2016
Story by Jeremy Jones
ark Neuenschwander is enjoying his usual seat — the one in front of Joplin Avenue Coffee Company on Fifth Street. Sporting a curly mustache and cradling a pipe in one hand, he’s hard at work editing photos, with the occasional respite to talk with friends coming and going throughout the day. Neuenschwander, founder of 9art photography, has been working as a full-time freelance photographer in the Joplin area for six years, but it hasn’t always been a walk in the park. Making the transition from taking photos as a part-time hobbyist to shooting to bring home the bacon wasn’t easy, but Neuenschwander seems to think it’s rewarding to earn his wage doing something he’s loved from an early age.
photo by Levi Andrew
An old camera of his father’s served as a tool for his creative expression from the age of 15. “My dad was a professional woodcarver — that’s how he made a living,” said Neuenschwander, white smoke curling from his mouth. “He ran his own business, so I grew up around that. I definitely grew up in an artistic household.” Neuenschwander really started to take his photos seriously in college. “I went to college and dabbled in everything, but I kept ending up taking pictures of things,” he said. “Toward the end of it I realized this is really fun — this is something I could make a living off of.” Even after the revelation, there was a significant gap between understanding that taking photos could be a viable
career option and seeing it come to fruition. In fact, it took long enough that Neuenschwander worked at Steak ‘n Shake for a time, Pizza by Stout for a bit, and Starbucks for two years. “During my Starbucks time, that was when I built up a name and was actually getting steady jobs,” said Neuenschwander. “I finally got to the point where I just couldn’t balance it all.” He quit the job at Starbucks, but not without worying he had made the wrong decision. “Within a week, I had two more jobs lined up,”said Neuenschwander, “which I took as God telling me I’m looking out for you.” He hasn’t looked back since. The creative elements came quickly and naturally, but learning how to manage a business took longer. As the dream of making a living from his talent became something tangible, Neuenschwander quickly realized he needed to learn much more about running a small business. He spent many hours in Books-AMillion reading anything he could find about operating a business. Now he advises young creatives, “Take business courses. Figure that stuff out. It’s way harder for an artistic mind to learn business.” In a time when so many people are taking photos, Neuenschwander’s work stands alone, according to graphic designer Caleb Murdock, who was featured in the photo novel Cold Brewed. “His ability to capture any subject sets him apart from his peers. Whether it’s a building, a book, a portrait, or an action shot, he has the talent and vision to make it look amazing,” Murdock said.
Neuenschwander’s photos: Neuenchwander enjoys shooting in a variety of styles utilizing different feels and creative elements. He shoots family portraits, weddings, engagement photos, senior sessions and commercial work. Middle: Caleb Murdock sports a stylish fedora and lit cigarette in this shot from Cold Brewed. VIVID / spring 2016
Master plan gives shape to Joplinâ€™s downtown renaissance
10 VIVID / spring 2016
Story and photos by Brad Stout
proposed community arts center may finally come to fruition for downtown Joplin. Connect2Culture (C2C), a non-profit organization on a mission to enhance the Joplin community through culture, announced the latest development in its ongoing efforts to create the Joplin Center for Arts and Entertainment via its website Dec. 7 — confirming the decision to plant the new structure in the lot currently used for parking in front of Joplin’s Memorial Hall. The project, which has seen several different iterations over the years, is part of a developing master plan for a downtown arts and culture district in Joplin from Seventh Street to 10th Street, Joplin Avenue to Wall Avenue. “We’ve been going through multiple efforts since 2009 to create a new and expanded venue for performing and visual arts in Joplin,” said Clifford Wert, director of Connect2Culture. “We view this effort that we’re making with this arts, entertainment, cultural, historic district to be a very effective part of the community’s thread of attracting people and retaining people, and bring an elevated cultural offering to our community.” Revitalization efforts in downtown Joplin began in 2009. Since that time, the downtown area has experienced a renaissance, thanks to organizations like Downtown Joplin Alliance, events like Third Thursday, and the influx of local businesses that have embraced the downtown arts scene. However, this renewed interest in downtown Joplin has always been just the first step of the vision Wert and C2C have in mind. Initial plans for the new arts center were announced in 2010 as part of Joplin’s SPARK (Stimulating Progress through Arts, Recreation and Knowledge of the Past) Plan. Under this initiative, development of the center would have occurred at the corner of First and Main streets and included a 1,200-seat performance hall, a 500-seat proscenium theatre, a new location for Joplin’s arts and community offices, and an expanded home for the George A. Spiva Center for the Arts. Currently, Spiva sits at the corner of Third and Wall streets in Joplin’s historic Cosgrove Building. Though it houses three galleries, hosts special events, and offers a multitude of educational classes for children and adults, the current location offers no room for expansion. VIVID / spring 2016
“Spiva recognized the need for a new facility as early as 2006,” said Jo Mueller, former executive director of Spiva. “While the Cosgrove Building at Third and Wall is terrific, intimate, warm, and inviting, it presents a few difficulties for Spiva to progress. The space is land-locked, with little room for expansion.” A new, expanded location would allow Spiva the opportunity to make improvements the current location has made difficult to implement. Such improvements include better environmental controls for the galleries, climate-controlled storage for both the permanent collections and exhibition prep, access for semi-trucks delivering traveling exhibitions, and better parking, among others. “Collaborating with Connect2Culture on a single Joplin arts and entertainment center makes sense,” said Mueller. “Spiva can share a facility with other community arts organizations, and together we can create something remarkable for Joplin. It’s an ongoing exploration to see what might work in terms of feasibility and sustainability and, certainly, what the community might desire.” Though the SPARK Plan and the center had been embraced by the city of Joplin, the plan eventually fell through, leading Wert to ask the project’s architects to begin looking at other locations that could house the arts center. “We have always had this vision of doing this, and it first originated with the SPARK Plan that was located down at First 12 VIVID / spring 2016
and Main street … but ultimately the $5.3 million of [community development block grant] money that was initially allocated for SPARK was not going to become a reality,” said Wert. “That required that we look at other means to develop our overall goals.” It was at this time that Wert began to look at Joplin’s Memorial Hall as another possible site for this new center. This plan would have called for Memorial Hall to be renovated to include the 500-seat proscenium theatre, the expanded Spiva Center for the Arts, and the new home for community arts offices. This plan was reconsidered, however, after new interest in Memorial Hall as a concert venue began. In August of 2015, LiveJOMO, a Chamber of Commerce-like organization founded by local business owner Jon Buck, launched Zerkapalooza — a three-day music and arts festival in downtown Joplin with Memorial Hall as the main venue. Meant to help raise funds to repair a damaged sewer line affecting restrooms in the building, Zerkapalooza’s successes spurred renewed community interest in the structure that led to more bookings for the venue throughout 2015 — includ-
ing a performance from the ‘90s rock band Everclear on Nov. 13. According to LiveJOMO’s website, the group “seeks to reintroduce Memorial Hall as the main staple of entertainment and events that our city has been missing. By infusing this icon with new life, local businesses can help revive a giant which will bring big name talent to Joplin, in turn ensuring that customers will choose Joplin for all their entertainment needs and keep coming back. From concerts to business expos, having events in the heart of our city will help ensure the prosperity of our community.” Due to the growing interest in Memorial Hall, Wert and the city of Joplin agreed not to use it as the site for the new center and instead incorporated it into C2C’s master plan. Now that C2C has chosen the lot in front of Memorial Hall as the home of this new arts and culture center, the next step will be to address parking issues. Once everything is finalized, Wert hopes to continue with the project’s consultant group, North Group in New York City, to develop a phase two — and ultimately phase three — capital campaign to raise the necessary private dollars to complete the project.
“We view this effort that we’re making … to be a very effective part of the community’s thread of attracting people and retaining people, and bring an elevated cultural offering to our community.” —Clifford Wert
Page 12 Top: Renewed interest in Memorial Hall has led to the building’s inclusion in Connect2Culture’s master plan. Page 12 Bottom: A map shows C2C’s planned arts, entertainment, culture, and historic district.
Top: Ben Miller of Ben Miller Band performs during Zerkapalooza Aug. 21, 2015, at Memorial Hall. Left: Two guitars covered in glass mosaic tiles by artist Jane McCaulley sit on display July 2, 2015, in the George A. Spiva Center for the Arts. Above: The Spiva Center, currently located inside Joplin’s historic Cosgrove Building, may find a new home within the proposed Joplin Center for Arts and Entertainment. VIVID / spring 2016
Art Feeds the Future
by Hannah Ishmael
Photo by Jordan Comer
Ashley Le Blanc, executive director of Art Feeds Joplin, helps a student with an art project Nov. 11, 2015, at West Central Elementary. 14 VIVID / spring 2016
efore there could be an Art Feeds, there was a 19-year-old who wanted to help children. She found one who not only let her change his life, but he changed her life as well. “He disclosed to me that he was not getting fed at home, and right then I knew that here in my corner of the world was a problem that I needed to fix,” said Meg Bourne-Hulsey, chief executive officer and founder of Art Feeds. Since that first spark of an idea, BourneHulsey has created an organization she hopes will continue to impact the little creatives of the world. “I passionately believe that children are more creative and innovative than we are as adults,” she said. Art Feeds is a mobile art center that goes into schools and children’s organizations to provide a therapeutic art outlet. “We choose to work with children, not because we think that they could be something great, but because we think that they are already great,” said Ashley Le Blanc, executive director of Art Feeds Joplin. “If we can train them to feel worthy and that their ideas matter in this community, then it will completely shape and unify the community in Joplin as a whole.” Jayme Moore, a fourth-grade teacher at West Central Elementary, says she has noticed students developing pride and selfconfidence through their artwork. Even as a first year teacher, Moore saw one of her students who had never completed an assignment finally participating in class because he would be rewarded with Art Feeds programming. Although Art Feeds only started in 2009, it has empowered 28,000 students. By the end of 2016, that number will increase to 30,000. Now that the Joplin Chapter is well established, Bourne-Hulsey is ready to put her focus into Art Feeds National. She is working on chapters in Northwest Arkansas and Carthage. Then her dream is to open two to four chapters annually.
Story by Hannah Ishmael Photos by Brad Stout
he historic downtown district of Joplin had been looking a bit shabby and rundown, but community leaders are working to give the area a new lease on life, all in hopes of creating a strong community with a great downtown atmosphere. The collaborators of Joplin are building a new mindset for the city: small town feel with big city adventures. One of the first successes in making downtown better for the public is Third Thursday. Since 2008, this monthly community festival has offered an art walk, kid zone, live music, food, and activities of all types. The original intent of Third Thursday was to bring people to downtown. Before Third Thursday, the vacancy rate for downtown buildings was 75 percent, but over the past seven years, that rate decreased to around 20 percent. Having a more active downtown has brought a sense of community life to the area and has allowed people to view it in a better light, according to Callie Hudson, director of Downtown Joplin Alliance. “We see that the community is shifting
Top: Main Street in Joplin fills with community members and tourists during Third Thursday Oct. 15, 2015. Bottom: Musicians perform during Third Thursday Oct. 15, 2015 at RSVPaint. from a suburban lifestyle to a traditional urban lifestyle,” said Hudson. Third Thursday is just one part of the revitalization of the downtown area, yet the most visible accent to Joplin is the recent addition of murals around town. Eight murals have created a new attraction within the city since they all incorporate a piece of Joplin’s history. Christine Smith, who blogs about Joplin on her website joplinmolife.com, has created a tour with brief information on each mural. Downtown Joplin Alliance wants the city to continue growing. According to Hudson, there are plans to attract
entrepreneurs to the city while maintaining the historic architectural integrity. Some of the successful projects include Memorial Hall or the renovations made to the Joplin Supply Company building and the Gryphon Building, which are now loft-style apartments with space for businesses to rent. All of these buildings were renovated with the understanding that each building’s historic character will remain recognizable. “The buildings tell a story of who we are and where we come from, and that story is important for moving forward,” said Hudson. VIVID / spring 2016
Local ballet company expands opportunities with new studio
Story by Molly Greer Photos by Lauden Baker
riginal and unique, Midwest Regional Ballet (MRB) puts a different spin on the small-town dance class. With full-length productions featuring custom costumes, aerial silk, and a growing number of dancers, Kaye Lewis, owner and artistic director, has put her dance company and school on the map. But the company, based in a cramped and dilapidated downtown space, was facing growing pains, so Lewis decided to expand into a new purpose-built studio in southeast Joplin. “There has really never been a facility like this is the Four State area,” said Lyndsey Bowen, assistant artistic director for MRB. The new facility will offer expanded opportunities for individual dancers and for the company as a whole. Bowen credits Lewis’ gift for creating original choreography for pushing students to excel. “MRB has always been on the eccentric side, producing shows ranging from the
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classics like Swan Lake to the more modern and whimsical The Nightmare Before Christmas,” said Bowen. “But I think MRB is most unique in that it affords students
“My goal was and always will be to give the dancers in our area the best opportunity to perform and advance their skill.” the opportunity to perform in full-length productions through a performance season.” “I am excited about our future,” said Lewis. “I have been very blessed.“ Lewis has been teaching students to dance since 1999, and has sent 22 dancers into the professional fields of dance, acting, television work, performing in
music videos, modeling, and teaching. Lewis works to provide students with the experience to be successful in the arts. “My goal was and always will be to give the dancers in our area the best opportunity to perform and advance their skill, not only as technicians but as artists,” said Lewis. “My dancers are my kids, and I adore them.” In addition to more space, the studio will also offer changes in the curriculum that include classes in Broadway dance, ballet barre and mat, hoop and belly dance, burlesque, tap and ballet classes for adults, vocal, and possibly acting. Already Lewis is the only choreographer in the region to work with aerial silks, and with additional classes, MRB expands its ability to provide classes in unique areas of kinetic arts. The dancers are excited about the possibilities the new studio opens up. Bowen, MRB’s aerial dance instructor, says she is most excited about the specialized room in the new studio where the aerial apparatus can be set up. Dancer Lauden Baker, 20, looks forward
Top left: MRB dancers are so excited about the new studio, they get a head start by dancing at the construction site. Bottom left: Kaye Lewis officially opens the new dance facility on Jan. 9, 2016. Right: Lauden Baker and Lyndsey Bowen perform The Nutcracker during the 2015 holiday season.
2101 Stephens Blvd. Joplin, Mo., 64804
• 4,000 square foot company dance room • Two 1,300 square foot dance rooms • Locker and shower rooms • Dancer break room
to the open space the facility will provide. He said Lewis has always done a great job with the resources she had, “but it will be nice to do leaps across the floor without worrying about running into a support beam,” he said. “I am excited to finally be in a space that truly feels like our home and to be able to offer the classes we’ve wanted for years.” Lewis agrees. “We will be able to offer multiple classes at the same time, more space for aerial, and we will be offering classes for all ages 3 and up.” The thing she’s most excited about, though, can be summed up in one word: “Space!” The new studio will include a 4,000
square foot dance room, two smaller rooms, lockers and showers for male and female dancers, and of course, the expanded aerial training area. “We will offer classes for the serious dancer five days a week or the recreational dancer one or two times per week,” Lewis said. “Both will have plenty of performance opportunities.” On the schedule for 2016 is a performance of Peter Pan and Lewis’ own version of the story of Scrooge, set to music from the Trans Siberian Orchestra. The company will also be performing in a joint production of Carmen with the Heartland Opera Theatre. For 2017, Lewis plans a production of Moulin Rouge. Lewis said the company will also start a competition team. “I stay pretty busy, but I wouldn’t change a thing,” she said. “I love what I do. I love the arts.” VIVID / spring 2016
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ave you ever had a project pop in your head, a project you knew had to be completed for no other reason than so you can get it out of your head and focus on life again? That is what happened to me when a comic book began to take shape in my mind. I consider myself an artist, yet drawing is not my forte, so I let the story simmer in my head for few weeks and the concept continued to grow. I began looking for a local artist who could handle the project. I got lucky when I learned about Jeremiah Johnson, a junior graphics art major at Southern known for his talent with comic book art. I met Johnson via Facebook. As I began explaining my concept to him, I worried he might question my sanity, but Johnson showed that he saw my vision clearly as he began retelling my story in his own words. That was a moment of joy. The comic book was now out of my head and into his. From a young age, Johnson has been consumed with cartoons, anime, and drawing. Fortunately, he had a family who fully supported his dream of becoming an artist, and he began to excel. As a high school senior, he was a volunteer educator at Art Feeds, a locally founded art program. Art Feeds awarded him a scholarship to Southern’s art program and an opportunity to create a coloring book for kindergarten students in the Joplin school district. At Southern, he won a chance to meet with Bill Roseman, an editor for Marvel Comics. This is when he became interested in traditional comic art. Johnson and I met for the first time in person at a local restaurant. Johnson was easy to spot as he entered the door, hat turned backwards, little wings of blond hair over each ear, a red flannel, hipster jeans, and fancy brown shoes. He had a red bandana hanging out of his back pocket and an art bag over his shoulder. I knew right away this was my artist. We began planning our project. “Capturing your image, that is the first step in making a comic book through someone else’s ideas,” Johnson said. “I had to design and plan characters and settings that matched appropriately to what you were searching for in your
comic.” Johnson had drawn a storyboard of the comic, but my heart sank as I saw the protagonist. In my vision she was tough, with a roller derby edge; Johnson had seen her as more of a ballerina. He surprised me by being very open to overhauling the hero. “You’re the boss,” he said. We met again at the end of the summer. The new sketches were exactly what I wanted, yet had taken on a much bigger life with Johnson’s interpretation of my ideas. Johnson explained how he finally got the protagonist right. “When I first started the sketching process, I had to read over the initial outline you gave me and really try to get inside your head,” Johnson said. “I needed to understand the world you wanted the female to face and what kind of trials she was going through.” For the first time we discussed the business end, printing and advertisement options as well as the overall cost. I would walk away with 12 comic books, all for less than $200. As the meeting ended, we each had a new agenda. He needed to get to drawing, and I needed to finish my dedication and save some money. We met again so I could approve the final sketches and discuss the final steps. The next time I saw him, I would also be seeing the finished masterpiece. As the day to pick up the comic arrived, I could barely contain my swirling emotions. I was as apprehensive as I was excited. Would it live up to my vision? Would it say clearly what I meant for it to say? I was anxious as I made my final payment. Then out came the art bag. “Completing a comic book is like having a baby for the first time,” Johnson said. “Everything is such a surprise and overwhelming, you almost don’t know how to process the situation; you just hope your baby is okay and healthy and that is soon to grow up and be a superloved baby, or comic book, if you will.” No need to worry. I love my comic book baby. I am glad I did not have to wait nine months for her though; seven was long enough.
VIVID / spring 2016
Cherry’s Cherry’s Custom Framing and Art Gallery is located in Carthage, and features a wide variety of local artists. Not only does Cherry’s provide custom framing for artwork, but they also have a gallery where local art is displayed. If you want to stay awhile, check out The Woodshed, their restaurant behind the gallery. Cherry’s also holds art classes every Saturday. Find out more at
Rose Gallery The newest gallery to the Four State area, Rose Gallery of Fine Art features locally and nationally known artists. With classes held throughout the year, Rose Gallery of Fine Art is a great spot to learn how to paint a beautiful nature scene or even pick up a gift for a loved one. Find out more at
Local Color A gallery run by the artists it features, Local Color is located in the Gryphon Building in Joplin. Local Color also holds several classes throughout the month where you can go to learn techniques from the artists. It’s a wonderful place to not only enjoy the artwork done by your favorite artists, but to meet them as well. Find out more at
20 VIVID / spring 2016
POTTERY CLASSES AND GALLERY
• Locally produced: • Pottery • Glass • Jewelry • Fiber • Home Decor • Women’s Accessories • Beginner through advanced classes and workshops • Saturday drop in classes • Project parties for adults, teens, and children 8 and up Fun for all ages! BEGINNERS ALWAYS WELCOME! HANDICAP ACCESSIBLE
Joplin’s 5th Annual Empty Bowls Fundraiser JOIN US NOV. 17TH AND FILL UP A NEW BOWL WITH SOUP TO FIGHT LOCAL HUNGER. • LUNCH 11-1:30 • DINNER 5-7:30
OPEN TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY 10 AM-9 PM THURSDAY AND FRIDAY 9 AM-8 PM • SATURDAY 9-4 CLOSED SUNDAY AND MONDAY
1603 S MAIN STREET, JOPLIN, MO
For more fine arts news, look for our August issue ... Pro Musica
Empty Bowls Artist in Action and more!