Sponsored by EaglePicher Technologies, LLC, ArtWorkers: Creativity and America may be the most unusual and exciting exhibition George A. Spiva Center for the Arts has ever tackled, and its success may well depend on your willingness to add to it!
Simply stated, ArtWorkers examines how Americans view themselves and the country they live in – through art. Combining an exhibition with performances and hands-on activities in Spiva’s first floor galleries, Kansas City artist Hugh Merrill is setting out to create a dialogue about America, inviting many, many voices to the conversation.
Merrill’s work provides the exhibition’s themes: politics, American monuments, environment and ecology, family and diversity. With these topics as backdrops, visitors will encounter America as envisioned by “art workers” from several disciplines and, at the same time, have the opportunity to join the discussion by using their own creativity.
Make your mark on ArtWorkers!
Everyone who visits ArtWorkers is invited to add something to the exhibit. Bring photocopies of your favorite family photos for Stories: Place and Family, on display in Spiva’s Third Street window gallery. Contribute small red, white, or blue items to the evolving three-dimensional U.S. flag. Take your picture with a “diversity mask” and see how it feels. Create your own American ‘zine, design a better President, or pose with the Statue of Liberty banner and leave a note about what you’d like to be liberated from.
Merrill, the avowed “ringleader for community arts actions,” will be Spiva’s artist in residence on Saturdays during ArtWorkers, encouraging visitors of all ages to add their voices to the exhibit.
Joining Merrill as curators are MSSU faculty members Josie Mai, Associate Professor of Art; Dr. Stacey Barelos, Assistant Professor of Music; and Dr. Joey Brown, Associate Professor of English. In addition to Merrill and Mai, contributing visual artists include Gene Arehart, Sandra Conrad, Jacque Moody McDonald, Kyle McKenzie, Jason Stamper, Michael Steddum, and Michael Strahan.
George A. Spiva Center for the Arts is located at 222 West Third Street at Wall in Joplin. Admission is by voluntary contribution, with a suggested donation of $2 per adult and $1 for students. Gallery and Gift Shop hours are Tuesday–Saturday, 10am–5pm, and Sunday, 1–5pm. Closed Mondays and major holidays.
ArtWorkers and The Lincoln Room are supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional financial assistance: Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.